Print edition available here
Umbrella S T Y L E / C I T I E S / D E S I G N / C U LT U R E
Issue 12 – Summer 2015 32 pages of men’s style / America in the 1970s Reykjavík / The truth about Italy / Futuristic football kits Wetherspoons: a good thing? / Brutalism / London mapped
Umbrella: now available in print Order your copy here for just ÂŁ6 Umbrella is now available as a coffee-table enhancing 100-page print edition. It looks great, it reads brilliantly and it smells amazing. All for the price of a pint (in certain London bars). Go on, treat yourself.
Issue 12 Summer 2015
On the cover Atlantic Tower, Liverpool
Editor Anthony Teasdale email@example.com
We’ve been heartened by the reaction to the debut print version of Umbrella. This response shouldn’t be surprising. The magazine market has never been more exciting, with beautiful titles appearing everywhere. What sets us apart though is how we combine innovative design with writing that talks about the places our readers inhabit and grew up in: that’s why a love of cities is at its core. And there are lots of them in this issue. Enjoy. Tony & Matt, London, Summer 2015
Creative director Matthew Reynolds firstname.lastname@example.org
Staff writer Elliott Lewis-George
Contributors Simon Cunningham Don G Cornelius Nick Soldinger Adrian Callaghan Kevin Sampson John Mackin
Online Dan Nicolson email@example.com
Advertising Jon Clements firstname.lastname@example.org
Printed by Buxton Press
Elliott LewisGeorge From finding out why the mysterious author of Spitalfields Life is a true Umbrella-ist to chatting to Surf brand Finisterre, Umbrella man Elliott LewisGeorge also found time to write about the simple pleasures of curry, too. Busy lad!
In this issue Rob writes about the dehumanising effect of now-fashionable brutalist architecture. A travel and lifestyle writer for the likes of Conde Nast Traveller and The Sunday Times, he also presents the BBC disability talk show Ouch.
Currently deputy editor of ZOO magazine, Giles writes passionately about Wetherspoons pubs in this issue. He rarely tweets, but when he does it’ll be about horses, ships, crisps, pies or Portsmouth FC. You can find him @gilesmilton.
The writer of our piece on Salford, Ian is the author of Flake and Perry Boys. Currently working on a comedic novel about the conspiracy theorist community, he writes for “awake, intelligent people bored shitless by fake news and celebrities”.
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No part of this publication may be reproduced without permission. Every effort has been made to contact and properly credit copyright holders – please contact us regarding corrections or omissions. Printed on paper from sustainable sources. To stock Umbrella please contact email@example.com UMB025
4 Umbrella Contents
Contents Editions 06 Strip show
Field trip 30 Croydon facelift
The football kits of designer Angelo Trofa
Simon Cunningham looks at the borough’s legacy of modernist buildings
Issue 12 Stories 50 Living in the shadow?
Style 66 Store point
What’s it like to come from a big city’s ‘little brother’?
68 Object of lust
We visit the Content Store Ten-C Snow Smock
With Is It Balearic? interview
32 Rolling news
52 Turbulent America
70 Second world wore
12 Restaurant 18 Cocktails
35 Norse project
Photographer Jean-Pierre Laffont remembers the madness of the US in the ’70s
Realm & Empire new season
Jago, in London’s East End
Why we’re in a golden period of cycle jersey design
From Cafe Murano
Umbrella goes to Reykjavík
The new Christopher Ward Trident diving watch
20 Q&A John Hooper
38 Drawn to London
On what Italy’s really like
Five killer looks for S/S 15
23 Simple pleasures
Stephen Walter’s incredible map of the capital
44 Heavens above
We pay tribute to the world’s favourite overhead railways
Giles Milton argues in favour of the national pub chain
26 A brutal savagery Rob Crossan considers brutalism: finds he hates it
76 Deep impact
88 It’s raining, men Bass Weejuns
98 Obsessions Tickets
08 News 10 T he Gentle Author 12 Recipes from Jago 18 Cocktails with Cafe Murano 20 John Hooper Q&A
Editions Consume with intelligence
06 Will Home help? Manchester continues to thrive with the opening of Home, the new er… home of the Cornerhouse cinema and the Library Theatre Company. Read more, page 8.
26 The brutal truth As modernists, we’ve always quite liked (some) brutalist architecture, but as Rob Crossan reports, the tower blocks and shopping centres of the ’60s and ’70s ruined many communities. Read his take-down of Le Corbusier and co on page 26.
12 There’s an East End theme in Editions this issue as we travel down Brick Lane for some recipes from new eaterie Jago, before meeting up with The Gentle Author, the writer behind the Spitalifields Life blog. There are also cocktails courtesy of Angela Hartnett’s Cafe Murano and a love letter to the humble curry house.
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Pictures Angelo Trofa Words Anthony Teasdale Further information angelotrofa.co.uk
Strip show The football kits of Angelo Trofa take the sport into the the realms of cutting-edge design Few jobs bring out the envious little boy in us more than that of football kit designer. What could be better than creating something that can be worn, not just by your heroes, but by millions of fans? Illustrator Angelo Trofa is someone so fascinated with kits that he spends much of his time redesigning – unofficially, for now at least – the strips of clubs and national sides across the globe. “The football kit is more than just a piece of clothing,” he says. “It’s a uniform, it shows a sense of belonging that’s almost tribal. It’s a piece of clothing which makes a statement more than any other.” Trofa, an Internazionale fan originally from Milton Keynes, uses a diverse selection of cultural references in his strips, bringing the rising sun into the Japan strip and coupling Greece’s team colours with designs from ancient mythology. “I use the kit to reflect culture and traditions,” says Angelo. “I like design to be bold and distinctive, however I’m a fan of things looking classic, so as crazy as designs get I keep them simple in some way.” Trofa’s kits are certainly classic, though he adds humour that big brands would struggle to get past teams’ marketing officers: witness the panama hat motif on the back of his Ecuador strip and Monaco’s’ ‘Marlboro fag packet’ top. Perhaps surprisingly, he’s a fan of modern kit design though feels, like soccer itself, the same big names are too dominant. “We’re living in a great age of design, but the elite clubs’ kits are made primarily by two manufacturers: 1999 marked the last time a non-Adidas or Nike team won the Champions League. This means brands which have created exciting designs, like Umbro and Kappa, are marginalised. While Trofa’s work is still unofficial, it can’t be long before he gets taken onboard by a kit-making giant, especially as he also designs team tracksuits and ‘bench-warmer’ jackets (ideal for a certain Signor Balotelli). “Last year it looked very close to me joining one of the big manufacturers’ design teams,” he says. “Unfortunately that never happened. Hopefully this year is the year.” If they have any sense, Adidas or Nike will make the acquisition of Angelo their marquee signing of the season. He’s got a proven track record at every level of the game.
From above-left to right + Hammarby FF + Barcelona + Ecuador + Santa Fe
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Pictures Wikimedia commons
News Matters of interest from the worlds of style, culture and transport
All change for Manchester’s art scene
HOME opens on May 21 homemcr.org
A new book celebrates the world’s most famous watch brand A Rolex is still a benchmark that watchmakers set themselves against. And a new book, Rolex: History, Icons and Record-Breaking Models, celebrates the company’s near-unrivalled history. Written by Mara Cappelletti and Osvaldo Patrizzi, it covers the brand’s story with detailed photography of the greatest models alongside essays and in-depth descriptions. Rolex was founded in 1905 in London, before relocating to Geneva in 1919. Since then, its been responsible for legendary timepieces like the Submariner, Daytona and GMT Master II.
Find your way HOME A new arts and culture centre is opening in Manchester, the result of a merger between the Cornerhouse cinema and the Library Theatre Company. HOME, located on First Street, close to the original Cornerhouse building, will feature five cinema screens, two theatres and a gallery for contemporary art. The venue, designed by Dutch architects Mecanoo, was built with the help of a £19m grant from Manchester City Council, and a further £5m from the UK Arts Council. HOME CEO Dave Moutrey said: “We’ll be a HOME for everyone, staging challenging and critically engaged art, yet connected with our city. We exist to produce outstanding art, create unforgettable experiences, develop skills, and make a genuine difference to people’s lives. Being part of HOME, whether you’re an artist, an audience member, or part of our local communities, will be something rather special.” As well being a showcase for the arts, the goal of the centre is to encourage learning and act as a catalyst for creativity in the area. Rosa Battle from City Council said: “Its unique location in the heart of First Street has been a catalyst for the creation of a new cultural and commercial quarter that is fast developing in the surrounding area, and that looks set to bring even more jobs and further investment into the city.”
The time of its life
+ Opening in 1985, the Cornerhouse cinema was a true Manchester landmark, bringing not just art-house films, but contemporary bar culture, to the city
Rolex: History, Icons and Record-Breaking Models is published by ACC, priced £29.99 antiquecollectorsclub.com
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Shades of rhythm Is It Balearic? is Nottingham’s finest purveyor of blissed-out sounds: Umbrella lies back and listens… To find a great record label is no easy task. That’s why Is It Balearic?’s catalogue is so refreshing. Here, label heads Timm and Ampo (AKA Coyote) tell us how they create aural sunshine… Umbrella: When did Is It Balearic? start? Timm: The seed for Is It Balearic? was sown at the Venus club in Nottingham at the start of the 1990s, but the first release was in 2006. It was originally a label we could release Coyote tracks on. Ampo: “Is it Balearic?” was a question often asked slightly tongue-in-cheek when someone would say, “Have you heard the new…?” and it seemed a good name for a label. We’d been producing music before we started IIB? and felt doing it ourselves was better than sending demos and waiting for a reply.
What actually is Balearic? Timm: Hedonism, happiness, dancing. Ampo: Different genres of music that sound great played together. How would you describe the sound of the label? Timm: We pick tracks that we feel have the spirit of Is It Balearic?, whether it’s an acid-houser, basement chugger or dreamy sunset groove. We recently started Uber Recordings to release the more Balearic tracks we get sent. Ampo: The sound of the label really does vary and can be downtempo and chilledout or disco, acid, house – whatever we feel at the time. The only real thing we try to do is release a new, upcoming artist alongside established people. We also get remixes from those who inspired us when we started, like Andrew Weatherall, Justin Robertson, Jon Dasilva and Steve Proctor, all of whom have remixed for the label. Justin also releases tracks as Deadstock 33s.
You’re in Nottingham. What’s the music scene like there at the moment? Not great. It used to be amazing but for our type of music it’s dead. Lots of young deep house heads and a thriving hip-hop scene, but it’s mainly students. Where should go to hear this music? Ampo: Aficionado in Manchester, Joe’s Bakery in Leeds, The Great Outdoors in Birmingham, Balearicos, Music Noche and one-off Claremont parties in London. Do you put on parties in Ibiza? Ampo: Yep, we do a label party every summer at Boutique Hostal Salinas with Coyote, Phil Mison and a few friends. We’ll be back again in September. What sort of people like your music? Ex-ravers of a certain age? No, we have pockets of people all over the world of all ages buying IIB? stuff. coyotesounds.tumblr.com
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Pictures The Gentle Author Interview Elliott Lewis-George
T HE UMBREL L A–IS T
No. 2: The Gentle Author Quotes from people we admire Since August 2009, the anonymous ‘Gentle Author’ has spent every day documenting east London on the Spitalfields Life blog. From profiling the capital’s oldest fireman to exploring Whitechapel’s strip of fried chicken shops, the mysterious writer shares many of the same interests as this magazine. Here, the Author talks about a never-ending obsession with the capital’s most interesting corner... “The East End starts at Aldgate Pump and finishes at the River Lea, but the real East End is a state of mind. If you think you’re in it, then you’re in it.” “The East End is the heart of London. I think the essence of London as a city is contained here. Historically, it’s where London’s life has always been centred.”
“I see tech workers as the inheritors of the artisan tradition in the East End” “Thankfully, there’s no picture of me on Google and it’s relatively hard to find out who I am. Although equally, my anonymity is an open secret, because I’ve met and profiled over 2,000 people now.” “I suppose, the more Spitalfields Life develops and the more stories I tell, the more obsessed I grow with London. They all begin to connect and I get drawn deeper into the worlds of the people I’m writing about.” “Writers typically write about a history of poverty in the East End and I think that’s an unhelpful misapprehension. To me, the East End has always been about resourcefulness and how people invent themselves, making a living through ingenuity. I like to think I’m writing a History of Resourcefulness.”
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+ Places and faces from the East End of London
“There’s an incredible desecration taking place in east London and a whole cultural tradition that’s being erased because people don’t understand the value of its history. But there’s an indomitable spirit here too, and I think it’s liberating to know that people have always evaded all forms of oppression. History tells us we don’t have to be at the mercy of our current circumstance.” “In the 1970s and ’80s the East End was an emptier place than today – so many people left. What’s beautiful now is that there’s a wave of youth culture here, young people are instinctively drawn to the area and curious about its past. You see visitors walking around Spitalfields looking at the buildings because they want to know more about what’s happened here.” “I hate the label ‘hipster’. It’s just another of those derogatory blanket terms which divide people from each other. The new inhabitants of east London come because they recognise the sense of possibility here. I see those who work in ‘tech city‘ and are typically self-employed, working in small spaces and doing something highly skilled, as the direct inheritors of the artisan tradition in the East End. There’s a close parallel with the weavers working in Spitalfields during the 17th and 18th centuries – even setting a loom is not so different from writing code. In each case, they are outworkers surviving off their wits and there’s a continuum – it’s a hopeful and beautiful thing.” “In the future, I’d like to see a rich community of life in the East End, with small businesses and a variety of cultures thriving side by side and respecting each other, and benefiting from each other’s presence. There’s a human resilience in the East End that’s withstood every kind of threat through the centuries.” “I think the natural conclusion of Spitalfields Life will be my own death. The idea is that, in 2037 after 9,999 stories, to write a self-portrait and that will be the last post.” Take a trip through east London at spitalfieldslife.com
Park life? Colombian city swaps roads for parks – but some of the locals aren’t happy The Colombian city of Medellín has unveiled plans to transform its urban centre by opening up the city’s river to pedestrians. At present, the banks of the Rio Medellín are lined by a six-lane highway, which separates paisas – people of the city – from the river. The new plans aim to end this by converting 20km of highways into parks, something that will cost $1.1bn and take 15 years to complete. Opponents of the scheme, many of whom live nearby, say that the works will cause chaos as the first stage will close 400m of highway for 11 months. They also claim that improved access to the river for poorer areas will bring down the value of their apartments. Medellín isn’t the only city dispensing with 20th century traffic facilities, with Boston burying its highways in the Big Dig, a scheme that ran well over budget and caused chaos. Whether Medellín can avoid that is yet to be seen.
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+ Orange lodge: Jagoâ€™s colourful interior
food & drink
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Eastern promise Londonâ€™s Jago combines Jew-ish grub with retro decor and a soothing atmosphere to make the perfect dining experience
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ondon’s East End has long been a magnet for migrants [see previous feature]. While its most famous road, Brick Lane, hosts both the Bangladeshi community and the young trendies that have arrived in the last 20 years, a century ago the story was very different. Then it was crammed with eastern European Jews (Ashkenazi) who staffed the workshops in the area’s side streets. Today, bar the two beigel places at the top of Brick Lane, the Jewish community has mostly relocated to suburban north-west London, so it’s great to see a new restaurant doing its best to reference that past. Jago is the type of venue the East End deserves. Housed in the Second Home members club, it serves the sort of meaty dishes that define the much-missed term ‘hearty’. Manager Hugo Thurstone says this philosophy comes from the common ground between him and Jago’s chef Louis Solley. “Louis was at Ottolenghi, which is Israeli, so we decided to draw on our experiences with Mediterranean food. As we developed we realised that we wanted to pay homage to the old Jewish character of the area. Louis is also east-London Jewish, so it made sense.” Despite a menu that boasts pickled herring and salt beef, Jago’s food isn’t all Jewish, with plenty of ingredients like ham hock and chorizo that wouldn’t pass even the most liberal rabbi’s test. “When it comes down to it,” says Hugo, “we’re just a modern London restaurant.” The decor, meanwhile is another thing altogether, with a bright orange interior and a glass bubble sticking out of the side of the building. It’s like being transported to 1974, but without the power cuts and strikes. “We didn’t want it to be too earnest,” says Hugo. “We wanted it to be fun and offer value for money. A place we’d like to go ourselves.” And with a drinks menu every bit as strong as the grub, Jago’s a place we’d like to go to, too.
food & drink
Braised duck leg, spiced red cabbage and quince 4 duck legs 50g sugar 50ml sherry vinegar 100ml red wine
Place duck legs in a dish with the wine, sugar, vinegar and rosemary. Cover and cook for 2 hours at 160°C. Remove covering and cook for a further 10 minutes at 200 °C.
2 sprigs rosemary 2 quinces 100ml water 100g sugar
Quarter and deseed the quince, cut into slices and poach in the water, sugar, lemon juice and zest for around 8 minutes or until tender.
2 lemons 1 red cabbage 1 tsp caraway seed 1 tsp allspice seeds 50ml sherry vinegar 50g sugar 100ml red wine ½ bunch parsley
Place all the ingredients for the cabbage in a pan, cover and cook for 2 hours at 160°C. Combine the liquor for the quince with the juice from the duck and reduce by half or until it coats the back of your spoon. In a pan, glaze the duck legs and quince in your reduced sauce. Finally, chop parsley and stir through your cabbage. Place in the bottom of your dish, put the duck on top and pour the sauce all over it.
Pictures Jago restaurant
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Words Anthony Teasdale Further information jagorestaurant.com
+ Above, the Jago team in their East End home
Pickled herring 4 herring fillets 200ml white wine vinegar 200g sugar
To create the pickling liquor, combine the vinegar and sugar and whisk until the sugar has dissolved (do not heat). Add the bay leaves, fennel seeds, peppercorns and thyme.
2 bay leaves 1tsp fennel seeds 1tsdp peppercorns
Cut the herring fillets into diamondshaped slices and place in the pickling liquor and leave for at least 24 hours.
1 sprig thyme 4 large beetroots 1 bunch baby beets 2 tbls fresh horseradish
Boil the large beetroots for around 40 minutes then peel and blitz with the horseradish, rhubarb and vinegar till smooth. Season to taste and add olive oil if needed.
1 tbls Dijon mustard 1 tbls sherry vinegar Â˝ bunch dill 500g good Greek yoghurt
Wash the baby beets and cut in quarters. Cover in olive oil and salt and wrap in tin foil. Bake at 200Â°C for 15 minutes, then uncover and bake for a further 2/3 minutes. Marble the beetroot puree through the yoghurt to create a ripple effect. Place on the beetroot and herring fillets. Finally, chop the dill, sprinkle on top and add a dash of good olive oil.
food & drink Frozen cheesecake with pistachio shortbread 200g American-style cream cheese 100g caster sugar ½ orange ½ lemon
Beat the cream and cream cheese and sugar with the zest and juice of the orange and lemon until smooth. Pour into oblong silicon moulds and freeze for 2/3 hours. Remove from the mould and roll in ground pistachio.
100g ground pistachio + Above, Jago shares its building with a members’ club
50ml double cream 150g plain flour 50g ground pistachio 50g caster sugar 100g butter
Blitz the flour, pistachio, sugar and butter in a food processor until smooth. Roll into cylinders and rest for at least 30 minutes in the fridge. Slice into 5mm discs and place on greaseproof paper and bake at 180°c for 8-10 minutes. Leave to rest.
50ml honey Let the cheesecake sit at room temperature for 5 minutes then serve with a shortbread and a drizzle of good honey.
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food & drink
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Umbrella: Hi Zoe. What’s happening at Cafe Murano? Zoe Charlton-Brown: Being in the heart of St James’s means the restaurant works well for business or leisurely lunches, and in the evening the intimate setting is perfect for a romantic date or a catch-up with friends. It’s a gorgeous room with two rustic chandeliers and a marble bar along the entire left wall – my favourite place to sit.
Cafe society Full-blooded cocktails join Italian cuisine of the highest order at Angela Hartnett’s beautiful Cafe Murano
While the rural life, with its focus on pursuits like camping and getting wet, is deeply unappealing to this magazine, even we have to admit yokels are better at producing quality nosh than us malnourished city dwellers. And it’s the countryside of Italy that underpins the food selection at Cafe Murano, the ‘little sister’ of top chef – and Umbrella fave – Angela Hartnett’s fancier place, Murano. While we could spend many an unproductive hour waxing lyrical about the venison ragu (courtesy of chef Sam Williams), Cafe Murano is also a mecca for those who judge a restaurant by its cocktails. Here, the drinks follow – in terms of geography at least – the spirit of the food: strong and robust flavours, with Italy (in the shape of vermouth) playing a big role. After a few of these, plus a helping of that wonderful ragu, you really will be living la dolce vita, despite the fact when you emerge into the street you’ll be in London’s St James’s rather than Rome. Here, manager Zoe Charlton-Brown tells Umbrella a little bit more about Cafe Murano and its drinks philosophy, before donating three inhouse cocktail recipes for Umbrella readers to try at home. Salute!
U: Vermouth seems to be a trend at present… ZCB: It’s having something of a golden moment now, but vermouth has been enjoyed for a long time, albeit more traditionally as an ingredient in cocktails rather than a stand-alone drink. At Cafe Murano, we use more of the red, sweeter styles and carry the classic Italian ‘heritage’ brands, plus some smaller artisan British products like The Collector made by The Ethicurean in Bristol. Vermouth is incredibly versatile and lends itself well to aperitif-style cocktails, giving a bitter complexity that you just can’t replicate. Because brands vary so much in flavour (thanks to the use of different botanicals), we can tailor even well known drinks like a negroni to suit a guest’s palate. U: And what about you? ZCB: I’m an Americano drinker myself – so just Campari, vermouth and a dash of soda – Cocchi Torino is a personal preference but I love all vermouths so I’m always happy to be guided by a good bartender. There’s an increasing number of artisan brands appearing and I think we’ll see a rise in vermouth being drunk alone, with just a couple of ice cubes to let the different notes of the drink come through. U: Tell us about the food at Cafe Murano… ZCB: Head Chef Sam Williams creates the menu with Angela Hartnett and it references the dishes Angela was brought up cooking with her grandmother and mother who hail from the Bardi region of Emilia Romagna. There’s a focus on simplicity and seasonality, with dishes such as duck tortelli with black truffle, red mullet linguine, and beef cheeks with polenta and carrot on the menu. Don’t skip the dessert – Amalfi lemon tart or seasonal ice-cream! This food matches well with wines from similar regions, and Murano’s sommelier, Marc-Andrea Lévy, has curated a 100-bin list especially for us to work with the menu. Vermouth is a classic aperitif and with the house truffle arancini and salumi, makes a strong start to a meal, though we won’t stop you if you want to stick to cocktails all evening!
Pictures Systems Umbrella 19 Cafe Murano, Umbrella Words Anthony Teasdale Further information cafemurano.co.uk
Cafe Muranoâ€™s Negroni 33 35ml Tanqueray gin 25ml Campari 10ml Antica Formula 5ml Cinzano Orancio Mix all in a glass, on the rocks. Garnish with orange peel. + Diners are seated around a U-shaped table, and given their food directly by chefs
Cafe Murano Spritz
35ml Four Roses bourbon
25ml Collector vermouth
15ml Cocchi Rosa vermouth
Dash Angostura bitters
Dash of Luxardo Maraschino
Stir ingredients over ice, strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with a cherry.
Mix the above ingredients in a wine glass with ice Stir and top up with Prosecco, and then a dash of soda on the top. Garnish with a slice of orange.
Interview Anthony Teasdale
Q&A: John Hooper Umbrella talks to The Economistâ€™s Rome correspondent about Italy, the country he so deftly profiles in his new book, The Italians. Here, he tells us about organised crime, football and the obsession with keeping warm
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For people who don’t know the country well, it’s surprising to find that Italian isn’t uniformly spoken across the nation… There are countless dialects in Italy. For example, the dialect of Venice and the Veneto is widely spoken more so than in most regions. If a serious separatist group grew in Italy, it could happen there. It’s not the only region like that. Even more distinct from Italian is Sardinian. Then there’s the area around Naples and Sicily. However, in other places, the use of dialect is dying out. Italy’s becoming more linguistically homogenised because of intermarriage, the migrations of southerners to the north in the 1950s and ’60s, and also because of TV. Silvio Berlusconi’s biggest legacy may be that his TV channels brought Italians together. The majority of young people now speak Italian most of the time. It’s one the reasons Italy’s becoming more of a nation. In the past was Italy more like a series of separate states? Up until the 1870s, it actually was. The Veneto lost its independence earlier when it was conquered by Napoleon, and the whole of south was the Kingdom of Naples, ruled by a branch of the Bourbon family. People forget this: Italy is younger than the United States. So there’s a north-south divide? Yes, and that’s partly because of the Kingdom of Naples. It’s often claimed that the Italian government policies were detrimental to the south. But it’s not true they’re drifting apart today – by a lot of measures they’re coming together. I’m often struck how some parts of the south have modernised. Puglia has developed a lot recently. The Abruzzo, the mountainous area near Rome, went through a period of rapid growth in the 2000s. It’s also true of Palermo, which has developed an area which is very modern with edgy restaurants and bars. In your book, you talk about how Italians believe everyone has the right to their own ‘truth’. Explain more… It’s a peculiarity that a lot of Italians have a kind of acceptance that there’s not necessarily one objective truth. This is something northern Europeans find difficult. We have ‘truth’ and
then we have ‘version’ or ‘account’. Only one of them is the truth. In Italian there’s a word for ‘truth’ and one for ‘version’, but the word for truth can also be used for ‘an account’. You have yours, I have mine. People are allowed to have their own verita.
Does that manifest itself in the legal system? It seems alien to our own… When I was covering the Amanda Knox trial and appeal, versions that had been utterly discredited earlier were allowed to be aired by counsel in the summing-up. Even though a witness had been shown to be discredited, the counsel would bring it up. How on earth the lay judges could keep track I really don’t know. That’s why the trail went on so long. It was difficult to keep a grip on what had been ruled out. You say in your book that Italians are obsessed with image It’s called bella figura. It’s not just about appearances. You can have a brutta figura, an ugly image, that has nothing to do with appearance. It’s more about preserving face. Tim Parks, who’s written some fantastic books about Italy, talks about contemporary ‘anal’ society. Everyone has to conform socially. Everyone has to look good. You have to act and speak in a certain way. Not everyone accepts that, but for the bulk of Italy’s huge middle class, this is the way to go. It’s surprisingly uptight. Italian brands are world-leaders in the fashion arena: are the country’s people obsessed with style in the fashion sense as well? Yes, it runs through the whole of society. One of the things that struck my wife and I when I first moved here in the ’90s was how much people were prepared to spend on their lighting. It ultimately goes back to the the renaissance, they have a special eye for things. Italians can automatically put together colours that are mutually sympathetic or make them clash in a way that’s very interesting. It’s passed down from parents to children. There’s an anecdote from a friend. He said when his son goes out for a shirt he comes back with a few in various shades of blue, asks him which one goes best with his jacket and the father tells him. He learns this way. The child is eight.
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Another thing: when it’s hot they still seem to wear a lot of clothes… Firstly, Italian mothers wrap up kids to an extent would be regarded as unhealthy in northern Europe. By the time they’ve finished they look like tiny eskimos. Because of that, they have a high tolerance to heat. I’ve worked with Italians and they keep the temperatures of their office higher than we would in England. When you think it’s hot, they may take off their scarf. Also, they think they look good. And they will suffer for their looks. In the height of summer you’ll see men wearing the same Church’s shoes they would in winter. And the women wear tight outfits with push-up bras, which isn’t comfortable, but does look good. What’s the role of football in Italy? Broadly speaking, Juventus is the only national team. You get the same phenomenon you have with Manchester United in England. Juventus is based in Turin, in Piedmont, which was the home of unification. It’s tied in with FIAT, the company of Italy’s ‘golden age’ of the 1950s and ’60s. In Rome, they divide between AS Roma, the club of preference for most of them, and Lazio, which is the team of the surrounding region. The same would be true of Napoli, and the Milan teams, though there politics comes in to it. The fans of Inter lean to the left – and don’t come from Milan, AC Milan is the other way around, as Berlusconi owns it. They seem to like sportsmanship though… That’s another paradox. In some ways Italian fans will support their team right or wrong. But at the same time they can be enormously generous in defeat. They’ll applaud brilliant moves by someone on the other side. What’s the situation with organised crime? One of the most depressing developments I’ve known has been the gradual spread of all three mafias – Cosa Nostra of Sicily, ’Ndrangeta of Calabria, and Puglia’s Santa Corona Unita – up the peninsula. There’s a scene in The Italian Job where Michael Caine’s character is planning to carry out a big raid in Turin, and the Mafia warns him to stay out. That was ridiculous then, there was no Mafia there. Now, it could be true. The ’Ndrangheta has established toe-
holds in Milan and Turin. This is worrying. There’s evidence of the corruption of regional politicians, too. There was a time when northerners could say, “Don’t associate us with the Mafia, it’s in the south.” They can’t do that any longer.
What are they involved in? It’s traditional: crime, and corruption. Figures from the national shopkeepers association show that one in ten of their play pizzo – extortion money. Even in Milan it’s one in 20. Because they have amassed such quantities of money the criminals are moving into legitimate business. After the collapse of Lehman Brothers, firms desperate for liquidity have gone to organised crime and asked for loans. The response has been “Yes, you can have it at one per cent.” They want participation, then they begin a creeping taking-over of the organisation. Finally, can you explain the popularity of Silvio Berlusconi? It’s waning. His party, Forza Italia, seems to have been overtaken by a revamped Northern League, which their new leader is trying to make like the Front National in France. Berlusconi’s been enormously successful, elected three times to be Italy’s leader, and has had a huge impact on the national psyche. He’s a great communicator which many politicians aren’t and had daunting media power. He’s also a very rich man and that can be pretty useful, though at the moment he’s on trial for buying votes in the Senate. What was his political viewpoint? His idea of liberalism was that people could do a bit of whatever they wanted. That appealed to a lot of Italians, especially when applied to paying their taxes. He was a self-made man and held out a dream in a society where mobility was limited that they could make it. A lot of people voted for him in 2000, thinking he could bring that midas touch to the economy. They learnt that wasn’t true. He was successful at playing the antipolitical card. He made appalling gaffs, but also said some funny things, and was very human. People could identify with him in the way they couldn’t with candidates of the left. The politician he most resembles is Boris Johnson.
+ The Italians by John Hooper is out now, published by Allen Lane, penguin.co.uk
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“Mere mentions of the ’Spoons may have some spilling their Brooklyn Lagers in indignation, such is the contempt held for chain pubs…”
Pictures Matt Reynolds
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Words Giles Milton
Not so long ago, over a bottle of Vedett and some decent handcooked crisps, I sat with with an old friend admiring a bright blue January vista over Camden Lock. Inside the pub where we sat, a hubbub of characters created a busy lunchtime hum. Hip, pierced exchange students devoured pulled pork buns, ageing rockers queued for jugs of guest ale and two young mums tucked into soya and pomegranate salads. The walls were dedicated to the local history of canal and market trade. This boutique pub ambiance was only let down by the very prominent adverts for Wing It Wednesday and Thursday night’s Curry Club. Welcome to JD Wetherspoons in 2015. Mere mentions of the ’Spoons may have some spilling their Brooklyn lagers in indignation, such is the contempt held for chain pubs, let alone an establishment built on beer & burger deals. But this particular lunchtime, my companion and I got to pondering whether the mighty Wetherspoons has ascended to national treasure status. It certainly has become a phenomenon of modern business that ’Spoons has ducked the trend for pubs closures and grown unstoppably over its 35 years. Born of one Muswell Hill location in 1979, founder Tim Martin now has over 900 establishments across Britain carrying the Wetherspoons banner ( JD Wetherspoons itself being the name of one of Martin’s teachers who said he’d amount of nothing). These include many listed buildings, from former banks and theatres to ex-churches and a former swimming pool, plus less charming options like the M40 services. With cheap food, cheap drinks, big-screen sports and no music, this champion of austerity Britain could have become another soulless addition to the struggling high street, amid the betting chains and charity shops. Just think how bad a chain of 900+ pubs could’ve been.
Yet step inside and you find the slice of modern, diverse Britain. True, Fosters may still be on tap, but it sits alongside craft local ales and random foreign bottled lagers. Dietary requirements are all met. Hours are as long as they can be. Fish and chips comes with bread and butter and a cuppa. Wetherspoons is everything to everyone, at a price anyone can afford. Look inside these days and you’ll see people from every walk of life: families, elderly couples, youngsters, Brits, Europeans, rich, poor. Not only has the ’Spoons become a modern hub for normal Britain, affordable for all and catering for the needs of the everyone, but rather than offering generic crap it’s actually the biggest supporter of microbreweries in the UK and bringing bottles of Vedett to people who would struggle to find it in 95 per cent of all other UK pubs. Like Five Guys, its burgers are never frozen. Unlike Five Guys, you don’t have
to queue for 45 minutes outside to taste them. Everyone has their own ’Spoons story. Mine stretches back to student nights out at the grandiose Becketts Bank in Leeds, with its Victorian Gothic exterior and Rhinos on the big screens. The College Arms in Peterborough, with its enduring odour of vomit, was the venue of my first date with my future wife. The Capitol in Forest Hill, a magnificent former theatre filled with vested middleaged men and a coffee bar, was our cheap breakfast or lunch of choice when struggling to save for our first house. I hear that the Capitol is now closing, to be developed into something depressing, like a theatre. A national treasure? Perhaps. But, like it or not, Wetherspoons has slowly become part of the cultural fabric of Britain in the 21st century. And if that means getting two bottles of Vedett and a packet of crisps for under a fiver in central London, I’m in.
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Rob Crossan takes the wrecking ball to the champions of â€™60s architecture
Pictures Matt Reynolds
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Words Rob Crossan
Whenever I listen to Joy Division (not something I usually do when the sun’s shining or I don’t have vodka in my freezer) I’m not reminded of the torment of Ian Curtis or any Paul Morley-esque ‘urban poetry’. I think of piss. Because Joy Division’s home turf in Manchester was, in those far-off days, home to a housing estate called Hulme Crescents. It was, apparently, the largest post-war housing estate in Europe. And, until its demolition in the mid 1990s, it was – in the eyes of sociologists, local government quangos, errant politicians and, most importantly, the people who lived there – one of the greatest social catastrophes that’s ever befallen the United Kingdom. The estate was the apex of brutalism, the architectural style pioneered by Le Corbusier that imagined a futuristic utopian society of communities in the sky, where everyone had hot, running water, heated floors, indoor toilets and everything that the Victorian slums of the 19th century didn’t. The results however, made A Clockwork Orange look like Little House on the Prairie. A combination of municipal incompetence, shoddy construction and thunderous corruption created fearsome, crime-riddled hell holes with vermin infestation, graffiti, urine and depression affecting residents so acutely that for the last decade of its existence Manchester City Council refused to house families there (or charge rent to anyone reckless enough to want to live in the place). And yet, reading pieces by the likes of architect Edwin Heathcote, it would appear that there is now a certain nostalgia and respect for these social failures. Today, you can take tours, and buy retro style T-shirts with the images of London’s Trellick Tower on it. Le Corbusier is increasingly in vogue as a chic reference point for contemporary architects. And there appears to be a general feeling that the aesthetic monumentalism of these grotesque social experiments is something that we British should feel proud of for having utilised. It’s this kind of imperiousness, at the expense of the people who were forced to live in these rat runs (with the exception of the well managed and successful anomaly of Trellick) across the UK, that frightens me into thinking we still haven’t left the age of social experiment, created in design studios and without any kind of meaningful social engagement, behind us. Brutalist architecture has its place in the annals of history. But only in the same way that Stalin’s Five Year Plans and Iceland’s pre-2008 banking system do. Consign them to history, remember them but take heed of the warning. There’s no nostalgia in brutalism. Just piss-stained alleys, cracked concrete and the memories of despair of those who had to live through it.
Brolly Brief The
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The Brolly Brief weekly newsletter It’s what Fridays are for* Need some distraction on a Friday afternoon when the boss is “at lunch”? Just subscribe to the Brolly Brief, our mailout of the week’s best web links. Sign up at umbrellamagazine.co.uk. *Fridays also for buying expensive coats online when boozy BUY NOW
30 C roydon: the story of London’s mini-Manhattan
32 R olling news 35 R eykjavík 38 T he Island 44 O verhead railways
Field trip Transport, travel and exploration
32 Jersey boys The recent surge in cycling’s popularity has meant a flowering in jersey design. We look at the newcomers that provide an alternative to the usual MAMiL staples.
38 Information overload Artist Stephen Walter is a cartographer like no other. Embellishing his maps with folklore and legend, he creates seemingly chaotic works that are crammed with information. We look in detail at his map of London, The Island, on page 38.
35 Iceland’s capital Reykjavík has been on the hipster tourist trail for couple of decades now, but it remains as unique as ever. After the banking crisis, Icelanders are focusing on the things that are most important to them: the arts, trade and squeezing as much fun as possible from life. Something that goes down well with us.
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Pictures ollieheald.com Words Simon Cunningham
Croydon facelift Trams and skyscrapers are reversing the fortunes of south London’s very own ‘mini Manhattan’, as Simon Cunningham discovers...
ondon’s tentacles have long reached beyond its traditional cultural and financial centres, giving the capital an increasingly unified identity. Suburban rail outposts are now Transport for London hubs, Crossrail is stitching together east and west, town halls are sharing services, and even black cabs venture south of the river. The resulting linear explosions of Prets, posh pubs and Foxtons estate agents are signs of London’s citywide exploding economy, but pose an increasing threat to local identities within the Smoke’s administrative boundaries. Yet one such ‘outpost’ which retains a strong individual identity is Croydon – the city* within a city, and – some would say – the capital of south London. Croydon once laid claim to being the largest commercial and retail centre in
the South-East outside central London, and the signs are still there. Magnificent post-war towers cluster in the town centre, painting an impressive skyline above a once-wealthy commercial heart. Yet Croydon has experienced a much publicised decline – the town becoming a favourite media byword for urban decay. David White, chairman of Croydon’s ruling Labour Party, has seen many of the town’s changes. “I saw the huge transformation Croydon first-hand, when it went from being a dormitory town, with some staid areas mixed with some working class areas and a fair amount of industry, into the largest commercial and retail centre in the region.” David recalls the town’s political landscape in the 1960s. “Sir James Marshall was leader of the council and also an autocratic figure who believed ‘the best committee is a committee of
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one.’ He was willing to press ahead with his vision of a new Croydon, and was largely successful in that. In my opinion, however, a lot of the vision was flawed, and laid the seeds for the later decline of Croydon. A major six-lane highway was built through the middle of the town, dividing the principal shopping areas from its main railway station.” So while Croydon’s ambitions were initially realised in the form of skyscrapers and superhighways, the shifting economy saw them eventually morph into symbols of decline. St George’s House, home to Nestlé for over 40 years, now looms empty over the Town Hall, waiting for its redevelopment as an apartment block. The nearby Allders building was once the third largest department store in the UK, but is now reduced to a tatty clearance outlet. Yet there is hope. Since opening in
2000, the Tramlink has given the place a shot in the arm, and is something other areas of the capital – and indeed the UK – look at with envy. The strong transport links have once again made Croydon an attractive prospect for developers, and new glass towers are beginning to emerge as the old ones again find a use. Croydon’s cultural and retail offering is picking up again too, with gems such as Matthew’s Yard (hidden behind Croydon’s 800-year-old market) attracting the sort of crowd that any town looking to ape the East End’s success would be pleased about. And down the road, the Westfield group, fresh from gentrifying Stratford and Bradford, has its sights set on Croydon’s core shopping area. Westfield’s mammoth scheme (in partnership with Hammerson) is unlikely to come to fruition until at least the end of the decade, but interim improvements
do appear to be helping preserve Croydon’s identity. Most residents – David White included – regard themselves as being both Croydonians and Londoners, something that’s being further galvanised by fast and frequent links into central London. The Tramlink also has ambitious expansion plans, placing Croydon at the heart of a vast south London transport hub. These improvements are, however, increasingly at the whim of the Mayor of London’s office, meaning Croydon isn’t quite the independent entity it might like to be. Its repeated bids for city status have also been refused. So whatever the future holds for Croydon’s relationship with London, for now it will have to enjoy having the best of both worlds. *For the record, Croydon is a town, and not a city
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Words Don G Cornelius
Rolling news Cycle jerseys, smart shoes and expensive gears are on the menu in Umbrella’s regular cycle column
01 Jerseys nice this time of year Let’s get this clear: cycling jerseys are, first and foremost, advertising – the design merely there to make the sponsors’ logos more prominent, many just a patchwork of emblems splashed on a colourful background. This may make the sponsors happy as they quibble over logo placement and size but by and large it doesn’t (apart from a memorable few) create jerseys whose designs live long in the memory. As a counter to this, Rapha has staked out a worldwide claim to making understated cycling jerseys in varying colourways, turning riding your bike into a seasonal cavalcade of change. The emphasis on the cut and materials of its jerseys, its black-and-white photographic aesthetic, appropriation of the heroic elements of riding in the ’50s and ’60s, contrast armband, and high cost are burned into the consciousness.
Spend any time on the lanes of south-east England and you’ll encounter Rapha-clad riders all over. The brand’s grip on the aesthetic of modern-day jerseys, and its partnership with Team Sky over the last couple of seasons, leaves it ripe, creatively, for a challenge. A challenge you can see coming: men and women making kits which can be just as bright as the most garish of ’90s monstrosities but without the excessive logos, and flowing underneath, a gleeful sense of fun. Something which Rapha, the former upstart that now holds a position of power, or the big beasts of cycling clothing, (Altura, Gore, Specialized, Northwave, Pearl Izumi, Castelli), has no connection to. As cycling grows larger this burgeoning audience want more than’s been offered in the past: they want to stand apart from what is being offered now.
+ Above, Rapha rules the roost but other indie brands are now starting to challenge its dominance
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Cycling jerseys and bibs are the new slogan T-shirt – everyone wears one, everyone wants one, and everyone can design one. So they are. I spoke to Jody Leach, former manager of Rapha’s flagship London store, who has started to produce his own line of jerseys under the moniker Laché (lachelondon.bigcartel.com) producing limited runs of designs he initially sketches out himself, which are converted into CAD drawings with the help of a designer friend. Laché doesn’t carry any stock, there are no overheads and no investors. As Jody explains, one of the reasons he can do what he’s doing is because, “there are companies out there offering the kit and help with the designs. They use stock jerseys but the fit and the materials are really good, and customers get them direct within six-to-eight weeks.” Companies like Kalas, Capo and Milltag, produce the kit for you, no sourcing of fabrics or agonising over cuts, Kalas will even provide an online shop front for you so customers can order their products direct. What started as an excited murmur in the States and Australia, is coming full circle as the home of pro cycling starts to produce kits which are just as engaging and colourful. From cycling clubs producing bike wear for themselves to cycling collectives engaging in collaborations with more established manufacturers, there hasn’t been a better time to produce kit for you and your mates, or to support smaller producers and wear kit which suits your personal style aesthetic.
Check out these challengers to the cycling jersey status quo: attaquer.com fiascociclismo.com machinesforfreedom.com tenspeedhero.com bernardridesagain.com blacksheepcycling.cc funeralcycling.com
02 Best foot forward I’m on a mission: unlike the Blues Brothers though, it’s not from the big G.O.D, but from my own cycling experience. Having made the transition from wearing noncycling footwear in clips and straps, to using cyclingspecific shoes with recessed cleats, I’m now on a mission to get more people wearing cycling shoes that don’t look like cycling shoes. I’m especially fond of Quoc Pham and its rock ’em, sock ’em, Hardcourt boot. Inspired by the hardcourt bike-polo scene, where being tough is a prerequisite, these boots don’t let the side down. A black, high-top with a lovely transition from reinforced woven black nylon upper to rubber sole, I’ve worn these shoes on my 15-mile commute to work, splattered them with mud along east London’s towpaths, and felt my feet get ever wetter climbing in drizzle and showers. They’re the most comfortable cycling trainers I’ve worn, and though not waterproof or overly warm, they’re robust and stylish. The recess for the MTB cleat is deep enough to allow you to walk without the constant click-click-click of your precious pedal connection being worn down through contact with concrete. They have a narrower fit, so your foot doesn’t feel huge on the pedal, and ample eyelets for lacing so they can be pulled tight. You never feel uncomfortable because of the padding around the tongue and ankle. The Hardcourt can also be purchased as a low-top. But if the black colour and fabric don’t sit well with your wardrobe, there’s also the very smart Urbanite shoe, available in high- and low-top versions, but in a hand-worked leather upper. This is a superior cycling shoe, and if you want to walk and ride, ride and walk, look no further. quocpham.com
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03 Nice gear if you can get it I have bike envy, sparkly flamboyant, green flake bike envy. I advised a friend a while back on what bike they should get to replace their very old [spits] hybrid. Told them in my very best “I know bikes” voice that they should get a bike with disc brakes, mudguard and a dynamo front hub and front light so they’d never have to replace batteries again. But most importantly an ‘IGH’. I left them to it, and they heeded my advice and went out and got one, the Genesis Day One Alfine eight-speed, and now I’m struck with a pain in my stomach every time I see them riding past. So what’s an IGH and what makes it so special? Well, IGHs are Internal Geared Hubs. Their official name is epicyclic gears, and they were originally built for tricycles back in the 1880s, the first patent for one being granted in 1895 to one Seward Thomas Johnson from Indiana. But as with most things technological, Johnson’s patented gear didn’t do well commercially, and so the history books were left clear for William Reilly from Salford to patent a two-speed hub in 1896, going into production with ‘The Hub’ as it was known in 1898. It remained in production for a decade and became the ancestor from which all modern IGHs flow, since its popularity led to the formation of the Three Speed Syndicate and the creation of the granddaddy of all IGHs: the first Sturmey Archer three-speeder in 1902. Sturmey Archer’s hub was quickly followed in 1904 by Germany’s Fichtel & Sachs own three-speeder and by 1909 there were 14 different three-speed hubs you could fit to your bike in the UK. Sturmey Archer and Sachs would go on to be the two largest manufacturers of IGHs for the next half century. History lesson aside, what makes the hub the musthave piece of bicycle technology today?
Well, here are a few reasons: Gears are sealed within an IGH unlike their derailleur brethren, protecting them from water, grit and impacts. They require less maintenance and less adjustment; the single sprocket also means the wheel can be built stronger. They’re simpler to use; can be used with those most modern of transmissions: belt drives and shaft drives; and can be shifted when the rear wheel is not rotating, making them excellent for commuter use where the majority of journeys are fairly stop/start. But it’s not all good news: IGHs are heavier than externally geared hubs; they’re more complex; and swapping out inner tubes if your puncture is complicated by having to disconnect gear cables to free the rear wheel. But here comes the big one: they’re more expensive than their ubiquitous external brethren, making the bikes that are built around them – say it with me – more pricy. Now if you’ve got the wallet for it, Rohloff, a German company make an IGH called the Speedhub which starts at £875 and then drifts north of a grand (it does have 14 gears though). But Rohloffs are the gold standard of IGHs.If you don’t want to get into debt you can get eight-speed IGHs from Sturmey Archer (the letter tastic X-R8) and Shimano (the Alfine which also comes in a sexy Di2 – electronic shifting version), neither one of which retails for more than £215. And if you don’t need eight gears, you can choose two-, three- or five-speed ones from Shimano, Sram and Sturmey Archer. IGHs are the perfect antidote to the increasing spiral down to lighter/stronger/pricier cycling, when in fact the benefits of their design and construction mean they’ll keep on ticking. For cyclists who want a proper commuter bike that isn’t going to be out of fashion and can deal with the English weather, then an IGH one is ideal.
Our favourites 1 / Tempo Doppio Black, £799 cremecycles.com 2 / Creme Ristoretto, £1,299 cremecycles.com 3 / Roux Carbon Drive A8, £899 rouxbikes.co.uk
Pictures visitreykjavik.is Greg Neate Matt Reynolds
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Words Matt Reynolds Further information visitreykjavik.is
Norse project Umbrella’s Matt Reynolds discovers how Reykjavík’s creatives are forging a brighter future for Iceland t’s a cold, bright day in Iceland, and Umbrella is standing in the centre of the capital city, Reykjavík with a tour guide for company. We look around, trying to fathom the place out. “Reykjavík is a small city,” says our guide, “with a big heart.” She’s right. With a population of just 120,000 (roughly the same as High Wycombe) Iceland’s largest settlement is nowhere near as populous as other capital cities, yet punches well above its weight – culturally speaking. So who are the city’s biggest icons? “Björk,” she says. “The first thing people want to know about when they come here is Björk. Or The Sugarcubes… and sometimes Sigur Rós.”
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Reykjavík’s musical heritage is well established, but musicians aren’t its only world-class cultural export. Artist Ragnar Kjartansson represented Iceland at the Venice Biennale recently (the youngest artist ever to do so) and former mayor Jón Gnarr performs regularly as a stand-up comedian. Part of his election campaign included promises of “free towels in all swimming pools and a polar bear for the zoo”, naturally. Then there’s the writers. Iceland has a strong tradition of storytelling that dates back as far as the Viking sagas, but thanks to a recent boom in publishing it’s estimated that one in 10 of its citizens will go on to publish a book. So where does all this creativity come from? Our guide smiles. “That’s easy – kreppa. It’s the Icelandic word for ‘crash’. In 2008 the banks here collapsed, and Iceland had to ask itself, ‘What now? Who do we want to be? What are we good at?’ and we decided that culture should be top of our agenda. Encouraging citizens to become more creative is a government project – they even award subsidies to artists.” It’s a strategy that’s paid off. Regular cultural events such as Reykjavík’s Winter Lights festival and recent Sónar weekend (headlined by Jamie XX and SBTRKT) have helped boost tourism to record levels. But it’s not just the events that are attracting young, smart visitors from around the world: “We have great shops too, full of designer brands,” she says. “We have fantastic restaurants cooking with locally-sourced produce and of course, great nightlife.” Sounds like High Wycombe has some catching up to do. Reykjavík’s creative streak is evident in its architecture, too. The buildings are a mixture of traditional wooden structures, functionalist low-rise apartment blocks (often clad in corrugated iron) and Danish-influenced modernist houses painted with large expanses of bright colour. Improving transport is also on the agenda. Cycling is increasing in popularity, and plans are underway to develop a high-speed airport rail link between Keflavik International Airport and the city by 2019. Outside of the capital region, geothermal pools (including the hugely-popular ‘Blue Lagoon’ spa),
+ Previous page, Reykjavík Free Church with Mount Esja in the background + Main image, Sólfar sculpture by Jón Gunnar Árnason + Inset images L-R, The annual Winter Lights fetival illuminates Hallgrimskirkja Church, a boat in Reykjavík harbour, Horft Til Hafs sculpture by Ingi Gíslason, colourcoded books at the Laundromat café, vintage boots and jackets at Sputnik, Icelandic street art + Right, Harpa concert hall designed by Olafur Eliasson
explosive geysers, volcanoes, glaciers and lava fields make up the incredible landscape. “On a sunny day,” she says, “it’s the most beautiful country in the world.” Later, at a gallery opening downtown we bump into current mayor Dagur Eggertsson. He’s on his way to a gig (of course) but still has time to talk to us about the city he loves. “The young people here, they’re brave, full of self-confidence. They see themselves aligned with both Europe and the US – yet are proud of their own heritage. In terms of creativity, we encourage that. The alternative is the mainstream here, art encourages discussion – it gives you a voice.” As he leaves, our guide reminds us of something the mayor’s predecessor used to say: “To be Icelandic is to be flexible to sudden changes of fortune.” And with fortunes improving, it seems that to be Icelandic is a good thing to be right now. With one eye on the past and another firmly set on the future, the people of Reykjavík could teach us all a thing or two. A big heart indeed.
Umbrella was taken to Iceland by visitreykjavik.is, with thanks to inspiredbyiceland.com
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Reykjavík at a glance eat
+ Laundromat Café Super-relaxed café with reasonably-priced coffee & breakfasts + KEX Craft beers, exposed brickwork, men with beards, great burgers + Lava Restaurant Luxury dining just outside Reykjavík from Nordic Chef of the Year, Viktor Örn Andrésson
+ Sputnik Vintage Redwing boots, parkas and Barbour jackets sold by the kilo + 66°NORTH Iceland’s own nononsense outdoorwear company. North Face fans take note + Kickstart Owner Jon curates an impeccable collection of raw denim and Nigel Cabourn jackets
+ Airbnb Fantastic selection of super-tasteful apartments downtown + Icelandair Hotel Reykjavík Marina Understated hotel (with an excellent bar) in the fashionable marina area + Black Pearl Reykjavík’s swankiest destination. Nothing to do with Pirates of the Caribbean
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Pictures Stephen Walter Words Anthony Teasdale Further information stephenwalter.co.uk
Drawn to London Stephen Walter’s hand-drawn map of London is the ultimate collision of cartography, art and legend – and it’s now available as a book London is a city defined by its maps. From Braun and Hogenberg’s work of 1572 to Google’s very modern Maps, what unites them is that they become – in some part at least – obsolete the moment they’re published. For artist Stephen Walter, this isn’t a problem. Unlike traditional cartographers, Walter creates urban maps that substitute roads and streets for quotes, legends and landmarks, all densely placed on top of each other in his trademark hand-drawn style. Nothing illustrates this better than his incredible map of London, The Island, now available in book form. Like a psychogeographic A-Z, the work imagines the capital as an island cut off from the country around it. From afar it looks like a ball of scribbles contained within the shape of Greater London. But on closer inspection, the city reveals its secrets, every settlement crammed with information, legend and poetry. Closing in on a borough like Islington, we’re faced with snippets of text – “Graham Bond throws himself under a train” and “Young
Stalin met Lenin here”, which every facthungry urbanist will delight in. It took Walter a full two years, from 2006-8, to complete the thing. And in that time, London seemed to draw itself further away from the rest of England. “Britain is a collection of islands and it undoubtedly forms part of our identity,” says Walter, himself a Londoner. “This provincialism; the centre of many industries and in particular the Londoncentric art world and its rise again to a world city status add to its identity as an icon, separated from the rest of the country. I wanted to perceive London as another one of these ‘islands’.” While the original of The Island is perhaps a little too large (and expensive) to hang on your wall, the book version, complete with 120 illustrations over 144 pages, is the perfect addition to any maplover’s collection. If you live in the capital, you’ll find a detailed examination of your borough, while if you don’t, you can marvel at the size of the place, and be thankful (or regretful) your life is spent elsewhere.
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The Island, London Mapped by Stephen Walter is out now, published by Prestel, ÂŁ22.50
Follow us on Twitter Weâ€™re more fun than the Guardian Links to stuff we love (usually engravings of Victorian railway stations or photos of Italian coats) and news about what Umbrella is up to. Pithy vignettes a distinct possibility after 11pm on Friday nights.
50 B ig cities’ little brothers: what it’s like to come from ‘across the river’ 56 T urbulent America: the 1970s photography of Jean-Pierre Laffont
Stories Longer reads for broader minds
50 Identity matters to men. We’re defined by the schools we went to, the sports we like and the media we consume. But perhaps most of all, by where we come from. Or in some cases, where we don’t come from. Three writers, one from Birkenhead, one from Salford and another from south London describe what it’s like to grow up in a place shaped by a bigger, more famous neighbour.
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Words Ian Hough, Nick Soldinger, Kevin Sampson
Living in the shadow? What’s it’s like to come from a big city’s little brother? Three writers explain how it feels when your town’s another ‘New Jersey’
Salford was a city before Manchester existed, and this gets hammered into you as a kid, regardless of the reasons behind it. Salford was home to humans possibly as long ago as 10,000 BC, while Manchester seems to have sprung into existence as a Roman fort in 79 AD. Their claim to fame is Roman while ours is Neolithic. Salford is not part of Manchester. Manchester was in fact once part of Salford. When you look into its history you find words and expressions like, “Court Leet, View of frankpledge, and Court of Record of our Sovereign Lord the King for his Hundred or Wapentake of Salford”, which reflect Salford’s Anglo-Saxon status and the fact it was mentioned in the Domesday Book. Manchester was an insignificant part of the Hundred of Salfordshire at the time. There’s a separate identity in Salford. It straddles the imagined gulf between pseudourbane Mamucium and the moors, wilds and cobbled hillscapes of Lancastria. Even the accents of Collyhurst and Harpurhey sound yonnerish* compared to those of the four core pillars of Salford: Ordsall, Weaste, Langworthy and Pendleton. Salfordians are made to understand that they’re not Mancunians from an early age. Whenever you meet someone else from Salford as a kid, there’s always a point when this fact is said aloud and agreed upon, or else said aloud and met with incredulity of the, “What, you actually thought you had to fucking tell me that?” variety. It goes so far beyond the marrow it impacts the galactic core and bulges out into the electric universe as colossal bubbles with skeins of super-charged particles that tremble and explode, showering the Milky Way in fractal
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Rialtos, Maypoles, dockers’ clubs, Victorian stations, ship canals, tower blocks, lads’ clubs, scrapyards, minarets, Hippodromes, red devils and terraced streets. In terms of football, there’s a saying: Salford Red, Manchester Blue. And it’s true. Apart from when it’s not. In terms of how we talk, I believe that there is a fairly uniform accent from Whitefield in the north, through Blackley to Moston, through Newton Heath to Droylsden, through Abbey Hey to Fallowfield, through Hulme to Eccles, to Worsley and back to Whitefield. These places straddle both Salford and Manchester. The Salford accent definitely has an edge to it, though; a distant hoarseness borne of knowing right from wrong and prizing commonsense above cockiness. There’s a humble smile, pure as a diamond-clear raindrop prior to dropping onto a filthy cinder croft in a demolished world; the falling angel a split-second before he hits the ground; the rose-like glow of children fresh out of a steaming tin bath in a small room where a fire blazes. Heaven and Hell. Two-up, two-down. Mancunians for the most part are quite respectful of Salfordians. In my experience most of them prefer to avoid debates about which city is cooler, harder or just better. I think they covet Salford. They want it to be part of their city, but they know we know it isn’t and that our knowing is based on marrow-deep galactic core elements that go back a very long way. Mancunians in north and east-central Manchester are a little obsessed with political history, working-class struggle, socialism, etc. When one of these people votes, he votes fully laden with a weird charcoal-drawn picture in his head of the
dignity of the People, Peterloo, and the history of conflict between the haves and have-nots, the Anglos and the Irish. In Salford people don’t give a fuck about any of that, really. They know the world is controlled by c*nts and that dispossessing them of it is ridiculous. The Salford lads will riot and stick it to the police, but when the armoured personnel carriers come rolling in it will be Salford getting it first, not the quasi-Irish Catholic working-class hero pseudoacademics in the so-called “Heartlands”. They’ll be stoned on Dylan, discussing what nasty people anti-Semites and racists are, while Salfordians are splattered on the frontline, cannon-fodder in the multicultural war on nationhood and identity. The character of the people decides the zones in my opinion. The area I described earlier, where the accent is uniform, would constitute a single vast gregarious tribe; a hundreds-of-thousands strong force of nature no different than the wildebeest or zebra of the Serengeti plains. But those who control us have partitioned everything up, created false differences to divide and conquer. Manchester was allegedly the wealthiest city on earth. Where are the civic fruits of that wealth? We’ve been had, and had again, and again. So, as far as geographical zones in Manchester, I’d say there are only imaginary lines drawn that have benefitted the vampiric scum who feed on us and relish our pain. I have no interest in shite like that, unless we’re storming the Bastille, in which case fucking count me in! *Mancunian term for rural Lancastrians, from the rustics’ use of the word ‘yonder’ Ian Hough
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South London The south London thing to me is a bit of weird one because I feel I have as much in common with people from, say, Putney as I do Hampstead. When I think of south London I think more of south-east London. The west of the city is genuinely something of a mystery to me, and I can’t think of any reason why I’d go to the south-west part of it, unless it was to watch rugger at Twickers or munch on strawberries during Wimbledon. The endless leafy suburbs of that part of the city also curiously spit out kids who speak in a sort of ghetto/cockney hybrid. To south-east London ears it sounds ridiculous. It’s like sharing the city with a million Ali G clones. People in south-east London, even ‘da yoof’, seem to stick to cockney’s more traditional tribal voice. I don’t know why. It might be down to a stronger sense of identity, or it could be because it’s the poorer side of the city and its inhabitants find nothing glamorous about the fantasy of ghetto life. The only part of south-west London that I think of as being part of south London is the border borough of Lambeth. This could be down to personal experience. My mum’s family hailed from there and I spent many happy days as a kid visiting my jolly Guinness-swilling aunt who lived in the shadow of Brixton prison. But I think it’s more than that. I think it’s because this part of the city shares the same swagger, the same whiff of danger, the same level of hustle you find in what I think of south London. To be proper south London, to use the vernacular, is to have an attitude, boldness, what is often called ‘front’, that you just don’t find in Richmond. That ‘front’ sums up the south London identity. Brash, tough, noisy, in-your-face, loud, crude, funny,
street smart, self-effacing and honest to the point of rudeness. Del Boy the archetypal cockney was actually from Peckham remember, not the East End. The south side of the city, or at least the southeast side, has always been the poor relation to the splendour across the river. From the start the Thames divided London into two distinct cities. Political, religious, military and financial power was established on the firm ground north of the Thames and walls were soon put around it. On the marshland on the bank opposite, another London began to sprawl itself out with a burp and a fart. A bawdier, more lawless, more drunken, violent, rowdier, livelier one, stuffed with brothels, boozers and playhouses. And it’s been like this ever since. In south London anything tends to go, and perhaps because of this the creative contribution of its inhabitants outweighs that of its posher northern neighbours – at least in my highly biased view. Shakespeare wrote Hamlet in south London. It’s where The Rolling Stones and Bowie played their first gigs. Where punk really found its first following. It’s where Marlow got stabbed and William Blake claimed he saw angels in trees. I’ve never seen an angel myself, but I’ll back Bill up on the tree thing. South London is far greener than the north. I lived in north London for two years when I was younger, and couldn’t help but notice the lack of foliage compared to down south. The most famous parks in London are definitely north of the river, but we have more open spaces. Take a walk from Blackheath village to Greenwich one spring Sunday. It’s a good half-hour hike through mostly green space, and there are at least another three parks all within walking distance.
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That said, our backs are very much towards Kent and the green land outside the city. South Londoners like to look inward. Whether that’s from the view from the Royal Observatory at Greenwich Park, or from that rather splendid bar on the 52nd floor of The Shard. From either point it’s clear to see that while most of London’s famous buildings are north of the river, we can still boast the tallest building in western Europe (the Shard), a thousand-year-old cathedral, the oldest pubs in the city, royal parks complete with a couple of former royal residences, as well as London’s fourth most-visited tourist attraction. Oh and that flipping ferris wheel. I don’t know if we feel forgotten by the powers that be. We don’t really do downtrodden in this part of the world. Besides, the area, despite the obvious hardships, does all right compared to other parts of the country. The 2012 Olympics did a lot to revitalise the area. The demand for housing in the city is also so great that people have finally started looking at what has been up till now the least fashionable part of it to put down some roots. As a consequence, brownfield sites are being prettied up all over the gaff, with the grim crack- and rat-infested housing estates I remember from my youth being torn down or done up. If I had to name a capital of south London I’d have to say Greenwich. Splendid Greenwich. The Cape Canaveral of the British Empire, where global exploration and expansion was plotted and launched from. Birth place of Henry VIII, it’s where his daughter Queen Elizabeth I knighted Sir Francis Drake after he circumnavigated the globe, where Nelson lay in state after Trafalgar, and General James Wolfe is buried.
Those who have lived and worked there have also made huge contributions to British intellectual life. Dr Samuel Johnson, Sir Isaac Newton, John Harrison, and Sir Christopher Wren – who designed The Royal Observatory there, which was the country’s first purpose-built centre for scientific research – all knew Greenwich intimately. Without Greenwich, without the ships that were built in the Royal Dockyards that surround it, and without the weapons that were forged in the arsenal in Woolwich to its immediate east, the British Empire might never have existed. According to a certain song you hear sung at football matches this side of the river, south London is wonderful. And it is. Beneath its rough exterior, and behind its tough reputation is a place of enormous invention, creativity, enterprise and raucous energy. I’ll end with a quote from Daniel Defoe who described south Londoners thusly after witnessing their drunken behaviour at the now defunct annual Horn Fair in Charlton, because even though it was nearly 300 years ago, it still resonates: “The rabble of mad-people, at Horn-Fair; the rudeness of which I cannot but think, is such as ought to be suppressed, and indeed in a civiliz’d well govern’d nation, it may well be said to be unsufferable. The mob indeed at that time take all kinds of liberties, and the women are especially impudent for that day; as if it was a day that justify’d the giving themselves a loose to all manner of indecency and immodesty, without any reproach, or without suffering the censure which such behaviour Yep, that sounds like south London to me. Nick Soldinger
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Birkenhead In my dotage I can finally see that being on this side of the water is the best of both worlds, with Liverpool literally five minutes away for all things cultural and 15 minutes door-to-door for the match. It’s a slightly slower pace of life in Wirral but, growing up, the only pace you want is supercharged. Through my mum, my grandparents and going to Anfield from an early age I completely identified with Liverpool and didn’t realise I wasn’t Scouse until my first away games. It was a bit weird, this dawning sense that your own people viewed you as an outsider. None of it stopped me, though. Clubs, gigs, clothes, shops – my entire adolescence was shaped by the big city. For me, ‘town’ only ever meant Liverpool. Is there a separate Birkenhead or Wirral identity? Yes and no. You’ve got Birkenhead and Wallasey, and their overspill estates like Leasowe and Moreton for Wallasey, Ford and Woodchurch for Birkenhead, and they’re as Scouse as say Bootle or Huyton. In fact I’d argue that, being dock communities abutting the river, they’re more Scouse than Huyton. But there’s a Wirral which is quite separate and has a different accent and attitude. It’s a bit like Formby [suburb north of Liverpool], a bit poncey: people say “cewke” and “smewke” instead of “coke” and “smoke”. Having said that though, I can’t have it that Wirral is ‘wool’. Wool implies an unworldly, uncouth type of fellow. Darren Gough would be a good example, and that genuinely isn’t my experience of folk on the West Bank. Liverpudlians are aloof and superior to people from the Wirral. It’s great that Scousers have that innate sense of self but I draw the line at some clown in Kappa trainies talking down to a 19-year-old me because he’s from Litherland. Undoubtedly, Birkenhead/Wirral benefits from its proximity to Liverpool, much more so than Liverpool benefits from Wirral, but some people would be radically opposed to us formally joining it. Birkenhead and Wallasey probably pine for our ‘L’ postcodes back, but to others the Wirral never left Cheshire. Kevin Sampson
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Pictures Jean-Pierre Laffont Interview Anthony Teasdale Further information glitteratiincorporated.com
State of the nation One of America’s most tempestuous periods is documented in a stunning new book by photographer Jean-Pierre Laffont He might be French, but Jean-Pierre Laffont is one of the great photographers of the American age. Arriving from France, via his original home, Algeria, Laffont has spent the last 50 years documenting the people extraordinary country, from near-untouchable politicians to gang members who can barely speak a word of English. This diversity, and the warmth of the population, is what’s kept him in the USA since 1965. A new book, Photographer’s Paradise, Turbulent America 1960-1990, showcases the best of his work: here he talks to Umbrella about his incredible career and what he’s taken from it.
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Words xxxxxxxxxxxx Further Reading www.xxxxxxx
+ Fort Dix, New Jersey, May, 1980: Female soldiers take part in basic training against atomic radiation + Central Park, New York City, June 28, 1970: Two men kiss during New Yorkâ€™s first ever Gay Pride celebration + The World Trade Centre, October 1975
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+ 1984: The Statue of Liberty undergoes a $62m restoration + January 23, 1974: Muhammad Ali before his TV studio brawl with Joe Frazier + The Bronx, July 20, 1972: The Puerto Rican Savage Skulls gang pose for photos
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+ June 1972: Bombs are loaded onto a B-52 in preparation for bombing missions over Vietnam + Bronx, 1966: Kids play on an abandoned Plymouth Savoy + Tombs Prison, 1972: prisonersâ€™ hands reach out through the bars
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Umbrella: You arrived in New York in 1965. What were your first impressions? Jean-Pierre Laffont: Everything was dirty and broken, the city was down. But each corner was interesting: garbage spills and abandoned cars everywhere. I did not expect it, but I loved the melting pot. I’m a photographer, I see in colour. U: Did you have job? JPL: No, but I had a camera around my neck, and started to photograph what I saw around me all the time. I was totally submerged by the beauty of Sixth Avenue, by the Empire State Building, by Brooklyn Bridge. Yet, it wasn’t what I expected, there were muggings everywhere. I was burgled, all my cameras disappeared one morning. U: When did you start working? JPL: I was a very good in the darkroom, so I worked in one 17 hours a day, sleeping on the floor, making money to survive. Then I met someone from Status magazine, and he asked if I wanted to work with him. I worked each night at Le Club – a disco near the United Nations. They used me so much they couldn’t pay me, but they arranged my green card – my permanent residence. U: You took photos of the political heavyweights of the day… JPL: I was at the White House for six years with Richard Nixon. I’d joined Gamma agency in ’69, so had a press pass accreditation. I followed him until his last day there. When he left in 1974, I wanted to see his departure from the White House lawn: his shoulder was down, but he gave that victory sign as he got in the helicopter. It was interesting. All the staff were crying, the maid, chef, the butler, the secretaries. Painful. U: You also snapped Bobby Kennedy… JPL: Yeah, it was very touching. They’re the sacred family of the USA, the Kennedys – going from one disaster to another. I stayed with him when he announced his presidency. When he came out, I was at the other side of the limo as I wanted to have his reflection in the roof. He did that gesture, trying to shake an admirer’s hand, it’s one of my
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favourites. They told me not to follow him on the trail to California, but of course it was there he was assassinated [in 1968].
U: Can you tell us about photos of the gang in New York? JPL: The gangs were mostly in the Bronx, with some in Bedford Stuyvesant in Brooklyn. This one was called the Savage Skulls. A journalist wrote they were throwing cocaine pushers from the roof of their housing block – it was repeatedly said. But there was no proof. I went to see them with a cameraman from a French TV station. I was in my small French car, and slowly drove on to the kerb to see the gang. U: Were they suspicious? JPL: They asked if we were going to photograph them. We said yes. Then they asked if were going to interview us and we said no, we just want to record your life. They said, “Everything that’s been said about us is wrong.” They were speaking like me in broken English, because they were Spanish-speakers. The gang were curious, we showed them our equipment, as they wanted to see how it worked. They were always making a show, pretending they were fighting, acting like little kittens. With me, they were gentle. They lived in the blocks, but didn’t know Manhattan. Their gang protected them and they had their own law – normal laws of New York City didn’t apply to them. They had a club with music and strange lights, in which there were all kinds of weapons. U: Is it easier or harder to take pictures now? JPL: You come with me on the subway, and photograph a person and they’ll smile at you or turn their head. In Germany, they’d ask you for your pass. This is why I call my book ‘Photographer’s Paradise’. You have a welcome in this country that I love. U: What sort of equipment do you use? JPL: I used to have five cameras around my neck. We didn’t have time to change lenses or films, and you don’t want to lose those minutes. Now look at it today. We have extraordinary technology. I wish I was starting my career again! When I see the young kids photographing today, I envy so them much.
+ Louisiana, December 11, 1976: Ku Klux Klan members gather at a ceremony + The Summer Jam rock festival at Watkins Glen, July 28, 1973: Over 600,00 people attended
I don’t know how you see life, but I see it in colour. Of course, I took a lot in black and white as we were forced to use it in the old days. But I hate the photographer today who goes into the jungle, and they come back with a pictures in black and white. They’re criminal.
U: Do you prefer the America of today or of old? JPL: It’s hard to answer that. I made so many mistakes. When I arrived, we had riots of black people, and I thought, “This is a revolution, they’ll get freedom.” I was wrong. Do we have more justice today? I want to believe it. But we don’t care if people are gay or black or from Mexico. You get the benefit of the doubt. In Europe, you’re always on the defence. One moment I’ll never forget is when the USA went to the Moon in 1969. At Cape Canaveral, I set up my stepladder. I couldn’t really see the rocket, but I had 20,000 people in front of me. Their joy was a moment of collective happiness I’ve never forgotten.
Photographer’s Paradise, Turbulent America 19601990 by Jean-Pierre Laffont is out now, published by Glitterati Incorporated, glitteratiincorporated.com
Follow us on Instagram Square pictures, non-square content Everything interesting that’s caught our fancy, from fashion preview shows to watches we’ll never be able to afford. Well you can’t look at David Beckham’s feed all day, can you?
66 Content Store 68 Ten-C coat 70 Realm & Empire 76 Trident watch 78 This issue’s outfits 90 Bass Weejuns
Bass Weejuns Loafers are a great summer shoe, living halfway between trainers and more formal footwear. The Bass Weejun is perhaps the world’s best: read its story on page 92.
84 Christopher Ward Sure, even the most simple quartz timepiece can set off an outfit, but there’s nothing like a mechanical watch to make your wrist feel special. The new range of Trident watches by Christopher Ward combines great looks with an enticing price point.
Summer’s coming, time to wrap up. This issue’s style section features a selection of outfits that will cope with whatever the summer throws at us. Whether you’re going to be sweating under the tropical sun or freezing to death at the British seaside, every eventuality is taken care of. Time to make an impression.
Pictures Sam Sherwood
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Words Matt Reynolds Further information contentstorelondon.com
Store point Crammed full of great clothing and interesting magazines, London’s Content Store is our kind of shop
+ Content has two branches in the capital, both of which feature a nicely balanced mix of clothes, printed media and accessories
o create a decent menswear shop shouldn’t be that hard, but there have plenty of stores that have fallen by the wayside because they’ve misjudged their customers’ needs. There’s no danger that the Content Store in London will make that mistake. In its two shops, the owners curate a tempting selection of wearable clothing that any stylish chap could happily stick on. Whether you’re after US sportswear, Japanese denim or English footwear, there’ll be something for you, as Content boss Mark Batista tells Umbrella’s Creative Director Matt Reynolds…
Hi Mark. When did the Content Store start, and what were your big influences? Content opened in March 2013. The biggest inspirations to me have always been the independent shops that we’re influential when I started out. The likes of Dr Jives, Lamb, Bond International, Strand, Hip, Duffer, Fly and Autograph to name a few. Some are still here but most have gone. How would you describe the sort of fashion that people can buy from you? We sell wearable product that’s going to look as fresh in 10 years-plus as it will when you buy it. We’re not into selling fashionable trends, just stylish, beautifully made, classic items.
What brands should we be looking out for this year and why? Content is moving in a much more tailored yet still casual direction. We’re big fans of Aspesi, Alden, Ami, Barena, Orslow, Our Legacy while staying true to the core brands we started out with like Barbour and Edwin. Expect to see much more Japanese denim mixed with Italian tailoring and American hand-made shoes. How important is your online presence? Do you have customers all over the UK/world? Online is so important now. Having the ability to sell our products to customers in Japan and America while we sleep is something we could only have dreamed of 20 years ago. You have two stores now: the Content Store in Holborn and Content & Co. On Exmouth Market – what’s different about them? The Exmouth Market shop is a collaboration with Japanese denim brand Edwin. We have a huge range of their product stocked there as well as clothing we don’t sell in Lamb’s Conduit Street such as Universal Works, Oliver Spencer, Tricker’s and Champion. What’s your favourite item in the shop? The till!
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our favourite thing
Ten-C Snow smock £860, ten-c.it There’s been a lot of talk from some brands claiming the lineage of CP Company/Stone Island designer Massimo Osti. This unlined coat, conceived by CP designer Paul Harvey and Alessandro Pungetti, shows that Ten-C is a worthy successor to the great man’s legacy
+ The original version of this jacket was made for the Norwegian military. It’s made of a nylon/ polyester microfibre which moulds itself to the body, thus making it unique to the wearer
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+ The well designed hood not only sits beautifully on the coat, but can be hidden in garment when it’s not needed
+ The pockets are an ‘anti-snow’ design, constructed like a sleeve to keep contents dry
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Second world wore Realm & Empire’s spring/summer range takes military wear from the parade ground to the street
+ Bacton artisan coat, £120 + Marston trench camo T-shirt, £40 + Tain slim-fit chino, £90
Pictures xxxxxxxxxxxx Words xxxxxxxxxxxx Further Reading www.xxxxxxx
Second world wore Realm & Empireâ€™s spring/summer range takes military wear from the parade ground to the street
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+ Duxford Utility parka, ÂŁ175
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+ Trudos Sun Collar overshirt, ÂŁ100 + Newton striped T-shirt, ÂŁ40
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Pictures Realm & Empire Words Anthony Teasdale Further Reading realmandempire.com
For the last 30 years, modern menswear has been in debt, design-wise, to clothing inspired by the armed forces. British label Realm & Empire owes more to the designs of navy, army and air force garment than most. Ever since it began, it’s used its unrivalled access to the Imperial War Museum Archive as an inspiration. And each season, the clothes have got better and better. This year’s spring/summer collection is undoubtedly the brand’s best yet. Using ‘demob’ – post-war demobilisation – as a starting point, the range mixes tough workwear with elements of tailored formality. It’s one hell of a look. R&E tells Umbrella: “The austerity and practicality that followed the implementation of the CC41 Civilian Clothing Order (the original resource for British workwear) can be seen throughout the collection in pared-down utility and workwear styling, traditional fabrics and practical details, all brought up to date with Realm & Empire’s contemporary design twists. “Hard-wearing and functional materials underline the ‘demob’ theme. Traditional herringbone is used for the Bacton Artisan Rifle Jacket, an update of the popular Artisan Jacket with new scoop, asymmetric pockets in contrasting fabric. Practical cotton canvas is employed for both the Wyton Utility Blazer and the lightweight summer Calshot Bomber Jacket.” Here, Umbrella picks its favourites from the new season range – all you have to do is decide what you’re going pair that green parka with. At ease, men. More at realmandempire.com You can also buy Realm & Empire from steeplepine.co.uk
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+ Bacton artisan jacket, £120 + Wittering demob shirt, £90 + Tain slim-fit chinos, £90
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Deep impact Christopher Wardâ€™s revamped Trident series should make a diver out of all us
Pictures Christopher Ward Words Anthony Teasdale Further information christopherward.co.uk
If you care about your timepiece, there’s a chance you’ll own or be after a proper diving watch. If the latter’s the case you should consider a model from the upgraded Trident series by Christopher Ward. Based on – but not a copy of – the 1953 Rolex Submariner, every Trident combines traditional diving watch design with some little quirks: the face has an embossed wave pattern, while the seconds hand boasts a trident at one end. Of course, it’s not just a pretty face. The Trident is serious dive watch that, after its upgrade, works at a depth of 600m, enough for even the most adventurous of submariners. The lume is clear – especially on the hands – while the bezel clicks nicely to ensure that those important underwater deadlines are met. “There are four models in the revamped series with an entry-level quartz watch introduced for the first time,” says Christopher Ward. “All have a completely re-engineered and upgraded case, and + The Trident comes the Trident Pro, in two case sizes: GMT and COSC 38mm and 42mm. As (chronometer) well as the various movements, CW also versions also boast offers three different zirconia ceramic strap sizes bezels, revamped and improved dials, crowns, lume and back-plates. The chronometer carries our Calibre SH21 movement, so it’s not merely a face-lift but a comprehensive overhaul.” There’s no doubt that Trident owners will be keen to upgrade, while those who’ve lusted after one should be persuaded to get on board. And with summer round the corner, it’s good to know a Trident looks as good getting out of the pool as it does leaving DC10 at 6am. Dive in!
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Ivy League communist Disdaining the frat house lifestyle, our hero prefers to spend his time boning up on Marx and Engels in between lectures. With a nod to his hero Jack Kerouac he blows his spare cash on clothes that recall the America of the 1950s: ideal for impressing the ladies on Occupy demos, and for those careerenhancing meetings with dad’s Wall Street pals. Right on!
Universal Works Trucker denim jacket, £185, universalworks.co.uk
Armor Lux Luctody T-shirt, £49, steeplepine.co.uk
Ray Ban Wayfarer sunglasses, £135, ray-ban.com
Maurice Lacroix Pontos day-date watch, £1,670, mauricelacroix.com
Universal Works pleated pants, £95, universalworks.co.uk
Bass Weejun Layton loafers, £125, ghbass-eu.com
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Tropical extrovert “You’ve got a posting, but it’s in Ecuador,” they told him. For this fashion-forward Foreign Office worker, the jungle was a bit of a culture shock compared to Old Compton Street. However, a quick shopping trip before his departure means that whenever he steps out on official business, he radiates pure sunshine – as the pretty boys of Quito can testify.
Military Watch Company watch, £119, mwcwatches.com
Henri Lloyd Moray crew-neck jumper, £70, henrilloyd.com
Haik/Kaibosh sunglasses, £135, kaibosh.com
Penfield Willow printed shirt, £60, penfield.com
Penfield Vassan printed parka, £155, penfield.com
Aigle Bamfield denim boat shoes, £65, aigle.com
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Designer flâneur Sure, he wants to remain healthy but going to the gym isn’t for him. Instead, this gent prefers to burn calories by strolling the streets of his city. Is he a wanderer? No, he’s a flâneur in the style of Charles Baudelaire, closely observing the masses with every step – his outfit part of his (on-trend) urban camouflage.
Maurice Lacroix Pontos diving watch, £2,200, mauricelacroix.com
Eye Respect Rufus sunglasses, £210, eyerespect.com
Paul & Shark hoodie, £270, harrods.com
Tuk Tuk striped shirt, £55, steeplepine.co.uk
Realm & Empire Swinderby shorts, £55, steeplepine.co.uk
Pointer Seeker pumps, £75, pointerfootwear.com
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Retro trainspotter Look, our man can appreciate a Pendolino as much as the next Virgin Trains customer, but this gricer’s heart will always belong to the diesels of the 1960s and ’70s. While the rest of his mates dedicate their lives to Peppa Pig and taking the kids to Cubs, this man makes his weekly pilgrimage to Crewe where his beloved British Rail Class 31 waits for him.
Triwa Lansen Chrono in metal, £230, triwa.com
Woodhouse crew neck jumper, £85, woodhouseclothing.com
Harry Stedman Ventile mac, £575, harrystedman.com
Woodhouse gingham shirt, £85, woodhouseclothing.com
Nudie Grim Tim jeans in black, £89, woodhouseclothing.com
Hudson Hadstone Weave Tan, £90, woodhouseclothing.com
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Edgy sailing instructor So what if he was booted out of the Marines for that unfortunate incident with the flare gun and petrol can, the sea’s in this fella’s blood. Now teaching City bankers the ins and outs of sailing, he’s perfectly attired to take “the guys” on both a trip to a posh Cowes yacht club and Portsmouth’s nuttiest housing estate. He does business in both.
Triwa Lansen in brown, £149, triwa.com
Aigle America Half Cab blue shoes, £125, aigle.com
Stone Island Reflex jacket, £630, stoneisland.co.uk
Gymphlex striped T-shirt, £50, gymphlex.co.uk
Wigwam Cypress socks, £12, wigwam.com
Samsøe and Samsøe Brady powder-blue chinos, £90, samsoe.com
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Pictures Shutterstock Words @sarcastialist
Are you messing? Why didn’t you text us when I was in the chippy? I’m not going all the way back just to get the dog a fucking sausage.
Got off with a bad wool last night & I haven’t got a clue where I am - the sign said Heswall but it looks like fucking Devon or something.
I’ll be there now, lad, I’m just tryna put some stuff on ebay. Apparently, having six hundred pairs of trainies is “embarrassing and ridiculous”.
I don’t need an estimated reading, love - I’ve just put me head in the meter cupboard & wrote it all down.
She’s text us to say she’s not coming. I’m not arsed, I’ve made a boss picnic & now I can have all the scotch eggs. Fuck off I’m not crying.
Ay Son, tell your Mum to slow down for us – I’ve had a pie dinner & I’m getting a proper stitch here.
The Sarcastialist Twitter’s very own Scouse sartorialist pricks the pomposity of fashion one caption at a time. Follow: @sarcastialist
Grooming Laboratory Perfumes bring the science of smell to your nose – and the bottles look pretty good, too
Back to the lab Like a decent of pair of shoes, if you’ve got the right scent on, you feel just that extra bit better. Laboratory Perfumes produces four fragrances, all suitable for men and women. Buy your lady one, wear it yourself… mmm. laboratoryperfumes.com
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It’s raining, men The sun might be out for now, but soon enough it’ll go on its holiday – the Languedoc is beautiful this time of year – leaving showers in its place. Keep them at bay with this selection of cool coats 1
Editor’s choice 4
1 / CP Company grey jacket, £430, cpcompany.co.uk 2 / CP Company bomber jacket, £360, cpcompany.co.uk 3 / Boneville hivis jacket, £399, boneville1981.com 4 / Albam artist’s blazer, £199, albamclothing.com 5 / MA Strum jacket in yellow, £310, mastrum.com
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Pictures Finisterre, Umbrella
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Words Elliot Lewis-George Further information finisterreuk.com
Making waves Finisterre brings a hardy edge to the relaxed world of surf clothing urfwear was once only worn by kids who lived in camper vans on their parents’ drive, or middle-aged men with chalets in Anglesey (Problem? – Ed). However, things have changed thanks to Tom Kay and his Cornish clothing brand Finisterre. Here, Elliott Lewis-George chats to Tom about making garments that keep cold-water surfers warm and urbanites looking cool.
+ Top, Finisterre’s Covent Garden store + Above, casualfriendly outwear + Below-left, subtle knits are a big winner
Umbrella: Why did you set up Finisterre? Tom Kay: Finisterre started 12 years ago in a tiny flat above a surf shop in the Cornish coastal village of St Agnes. I had a three-page website and some fleece jackets that were really thick, waterproof and breathable. As a cold-water surfer myself, I knew what it was like to surf in the unforgiving conditions of the likes of Norway and the UK. When I started out, there weren’t any brands making clothes to protect surfers from the elements. I was always freezing cold when I got out of the sea, and I knew a T-shirt would be the last thing to warm me up. U: What does Finisterre mean? TK: It’s the name of a shipping forecast area. As my passion for surfing grew, so did my obsession with the weather. I used to sit in my parents’ car and listen to the shipping forecasts and study isobar pressure maps to hunt down swell and the right wind. People
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just think Cornwall and Devon are the only surf spots in the UK but any coast can have good waves on the right day.
U: What sets Finisterre apart from other outdoor brands? TK: Our commitment to people, product and the environment is not some campaign; it’s just inherent to what we do. I’m really proud of the product and the mix of fabrics that we use. From the wool in our knitwear to the Sheffield steel of our surf knives, it’s great to know that we’re helping to keep the British supply chain alive. Our wool supplier Lesley started out with 28 sheep but her herd is now 250-strong. We think her wool is Britain’s answer to the strong merino fibres that come from Australia.
“We can walk down the coastal path in our latest products and test them out” U: Who’s a typical Finisterre customer? TK: There isn’t one because there’s a real width to the brand. We’ve got stores in St Agnes and Falmouth, and also stores in Paris and London that act as homes for city-dwelling surfers. Our HQ is based in St Agnes, opposite the Surfers Against Sewage charity; in an old Cornish tin mine 100 metres from the sea. We can walk down the coastal path in our latest products and test them out. U: Do you still find time to surf? TK: I’m travelling a lot these days but I try to nip into the sea about two or three times a week. I’ll throw on a wetsuit on between meetings or go for quick surf in the morning to clear my head. I’m a surfer at heart. It’s the whole tapestry around cold-water surfing that makes it so fulfilling – the camaraderie of finding new spots with a bunch of friends, the excitement, the disappointment and the beers around the campfire after a surf. All of these experiences go into Finisterre, and they’re hopefully things anyone can relate too, whether they surf or not.
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+ Above, shoppers in need of a pick-me-up can grab a coffee + Left, bright colours are the order of the day at Finisterre + Below, wrapping up against the Cornish weather is no problem
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Picture Umbrella Words Anthony Teasdale
Obsessions: Tickets Anthony Teasdale charts his life through a series of stubs and scraps of paper
here’s something about collecting that appeals to every man I know. Maybe it’s because we’re not content to keep our interests to ourselves that we feel the need to have something tangible with which we can demonstrate our devotion(s). The only problem with collecting stuff is that it inevitably means filling your house or flat with lots of objects that serve no practical purpose. It’s for this reason that the stuff I used to collect – rare Balearic records, books etc – have fallen by the wayside. Instead, I now concentrate on items that take up little space but spark instant memories. Specifically, I’m talking tickets. Just to be clear, the tickets I collect aren’t of the rail/bus variety – unless they’ve taken me to a significant event – but for football matches and other happenings. Like adverts in old newspapers, they tell a story that goes beyond the actual thing itself into the realms of design, economics and history. This habit began with my first away football match when I travelled to watch Liverpool play at Coventry City in 1987. From then on, every match ticket was folded up in my back pocket and placed in a little bag with the others when I got home. Of the early ones, each is a memento of a game, the progress of my team and even the clothes I was wearing. From Old Trafford to Derby County’s Baseball Ground, my travels show how watching football gave me the chance to explore the country.
Two tickets from this period hold altogether more poignant memories. They’re both for the Leppings Lane end at Sheffield Wednesday’s Hillsborough ground. The first, from the 1988 FA Cup semi-final, is a reminder of getting so crushed that I had to be let out through a gate in the pitchside fence. The second, from the year after, takes me to a sunny afternoon in April, when 96 people died on the same terrace, but I survived after vowing not to go into the pen I’d been crushed in the year before. My survival in the latter came from my terror in the former: the tickets tell that tale. Today, my collection of – if you’ll pardon the tout-speak – ‘briefs’ is bigger than ever. Now housed in a smart folder from Paperchase, it contains tickets, not just for football matches, but concerts, art galleries and museums, too. When I saw the Stone Roses play Heaton Park in 2012, I gleefully compared the ticket from that with the one from their Spike Island concert in 1990. It showed how little the things that are important to me had changed in 22 years. I’m still that lad cataloguing his experiences through stubs. The only cloud on the horizon is the increasing use of digital tickets which appear on your phone and are scanned when you enter the venue. I should love this, but a ticket made of pixels can’t be savoured, folded and then put away. For now, paper’s hanging on. Let’s hope it stays that way.
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