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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 16 – Spring / Summer 2017 30 pages of men’s style / Brutalism in Benidorm / The North Face Underworld’s Karl Hyde / The world’s coolest taxis Disappearing Glasgow / British Rail / Wetherspoons’ carpets
We are a magazine: the feel of paper, the smell of ink. We are urbanists, the cities where cultures mix, ideas form and stories happen. We are independent, informed, inspired. We are systems, the way things work. We are details, the design of a technical jacket, the complexities of a transit network. We are explorers. We look again, examine the world around us, and uncover the hidden. We are modernists: the architecture we admire, the music we love, the clothes we wear, the principles we live by â€“ ambitious, innovative, progressive. We push things forward. We ask: How? Who? Why? We do this for the love of it. We are Umbrella, this is what we believe. This is our manifesto.
Issue 16 Spring / Summer 2017
On the cover Smithfield Market, London Picture: Matt Reynolds
Editor Anthony Teasdale
Spring is always an optimistic time at Umbrella HQ. To be honest, the deathly blow of winter was softened by a trip in late November to Benidorm, perhaps the most architecturally advanced city in Europe. Read our verdict on page 50. Turning to past matters, we look at the graphic identity of British Rail, while car fans will love our rundown of the world’s best taxis. Add in spring style, Karl Hyde and The North Face, and you’re set. Enjoy! Tony & Matt, London, spring 2017
Creative director Matt Reynolds firstname.lastname@example.org
Staff writer Elliott Lewis-George
Adrian Callaghan Peter O’Toole Simon Cunningham John Mackin Joey Yu
Online Dan Nicolson email@example.com
Commercial manager Jon Clements firstname.lastname@example.org
Printed by Buxton Press
Tommy Melville Mischa Gilbert
Terry Daley is a freelance journalist, who after eight years in the Eternal City is now an honorary Roman. His daughter was born on the Tiber Island, and he writes about what that means for his and his little one’s confused identity on page 16.
Lee has had an appreciation of street lighting since childhood. Hence we asked him to write about it in our Obsessions page. He’s editor of British Ideas Corporation, a UK website and Facebook page about British culture.
Tommy grew up near Craven Cottage, home of Fulham FC. He’s attended games there for as long as he can remember, and in this issue describes the experience of growing up virtually under the floodlights – and why that separates him from other fans.
Based between Denmark and the UK, Mischa spends his time advising brands. Fascinated by humancentred technology, apparel and mobility, in this issue he profiles Hövding, a Swedish company making airbags for cyclists.
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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 UMB029
Editions 08 The fast show
Field trip 30 Blowing up
Stories 62 World at his feet
Style 78 The North Face
A history of cycle jerseys
New airbag for cyclists
32 The end of the road
The surprising story of Wetherspoons’ carpets
The pieces that made the legendary brand
Newcastle gets its own font; Openhouse magazine
The legacy of Glasgow’s failed apartment blocks
66 Clean living
84 Our favourite thing Holubar Short Hunter jacket
36 This was the age of the train
Properties from The Modern House estate agency
72 Karl Hyde
Four looks for spring 2017
Tales from a life in music
94 Rivet & Hyde
Apple Campus 2
14 The Umbrella-ist Photogrpaher Derek Ridgers
16 Columns Being British in Rome; a true local football fan
A look at the graphic identity of British Rail
46 How do you solve a problem like… Bradford’s Darley Street
50 Heaven up here
The high-rise beauty of Benidorm
22 Recipes Felicity Cloake
27 Simple pleasures
56 All the fun of the fare
An afternoon nap
The world’s coolest taxis
86 Outfits London’s new home for selvedge denim
96 Farer ’nuff Classic style from this UK watch brand
98 Obsessions Street lighting
08 C ycing jerseys 10 N ews 12 S napshot 16 C olumn: having a child in Rome
18 Q &A Deyan Sudjic
Editions Consume with intelligence
Open season Barcelona’s Openhouse is a magazine about eating, entertaining and sharing. It inspires us: we think our Q&A with its editor will do the same to you.
14 Pasta maker Lighter nights mean lighter lunches (well, for some of the time anyway). So who better to donate a couple of recipes than Felicity Cloake, food writer at The Guardian, who’s written a book with an ingredient for each letter of the alphabet.
If you read Loaded during the 1990s then you might be aware of the work of photographer Derek Ridgers: his monochrome snaps of rubber-clad fetishists were a monthly highlight. It’s only right, then, that he’s this issue’s Umbrella-ist interview, in which he talks about a life spent snapping outsiders and outliers.
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Pictures Henk Theuns, Emile Arbes Words Anthony Teasdale Further information thamesandhudson.com
The fast show A new book about cycling jerseys is the perfect fusion of style and sport
There’s something undeniably cool about cycling. It’s not just the bikes (technical, beautiful) or the riders (gnarly, a bit mad), but the aesthetic that surrounds it. And this is especially true of pro-cycling jerseys, certainly the ones made before the era of skin-suits and aerodynamic socks. That’s why a stylish new book – Cycling Jerseys by Chris Sidwells – is such a fascinating read. After an unpromising start (early jerseys looked like those chunky jumpers football goalies used to wear), by the 1930s cycling jerseys had become more tailored with rear pockets, and button collars added to let air in. As cycle racing became more popular – particularly in France, Belgium and Italy – sponsors realised that jerseys offered valuable real estate, and by the 1950s non-bike brand logos were covering the tops of pro-riders. The 1960s, in particular, was the apex of jersey design with abstract shapes sharing space with commercial logos. It’s no wonder the look of riders like Tom Simpson (who died of exhaustion on the 1967 Tour de France) became part of the mod aesthetic: clothes for the skinny bodies of cyclists were perfect for the stylish, but undernourished, mods. And like football shirts, classic jerseys are pored over years after their release. In the book, Sidwells tells the story of ageless designs like the Rainbow Jersey of the Union Cycliste Internationale, the blue Azzurri of the Italian national team and of course, the Tour de France’s Yellow Jersey. So whether you’re a fan of cycling or design (or, more than likely, both) this is a book your coffee table is crying out for. Saddle up! Cycling Jerseys by Chris Sidwells is published by Thames & Hudson
Opposite page + The jerseys reflect both trends in cycling, and fashion. Earlier models – such as the classic Bianchi – are made in merino wool. Man-made fibres now dominate.
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A N D R EW TROTTER , ED I TO R , O P EN H O U S E
Interviews with the people behind our favourite magazines
Matters of interest from the worlds of media, culture and transport
New typeface designed for Byker Ground-breaking Newcastle housing estate gets bespoke font A Newcastle artist and designer has created a new typeface influenced by his city. Jimmy Turrell based it on the Byker Wall estate where he grew up in the ’80s. Turrell’s typeface was commissioned by design website It’s Nice That and bespoke typographers Fontsmith, which asked three designers to create fonts influenced by their home towns. The Byker Wall estate was designed by Ralph Erskine between 1969-82 as a more liveable antidote to the sometimesalienating brutalist blocks of the period. “The Byker Wall represents a dramatic break in the aesthetic and ethic that dominated the social housing of the ’60s in the UK,” said Jimmy. “Ralph Erskine’s vision for Byker was for ‘a complete and integrated environment for living in the widest sense’.” The font, FS Erskine, pays tribute to the colourful estate and its creator, with geographic shapes, ragged edges and up to nine versions of each character. jimmyturrell.com
+ Below, Turrell’s typeface mirrors the construction and colours of the estate
Umbrella: Hi Andrew. What’s the story behind Openhouse? Andrew Trotter: We didn’t decide to make a mag, it just happened. We [Andrew and co-director Mari Luiz Vidal] were sharing a house together: that house turned into a photography gallery. Then with our other flatmate Nobu, we started to make dinners, and put on concerts and talks.
U: And then? AT: We heard about other projects around the world, so wrote about them. U: Were you worried about starting a print magazine in a digital age? AT: It was exactly for this reason we decided make a paper mag. We love having something real in our hands, something we can collect. U: Why focus on entertaining and food? AT: Actually, our focus is on community and sharing. We feel so connected these days with our mobile phone and computers. But do we know what’s going on in our area? Do we know our neighbours? Do we meet people outside of our circle of friends? U: You’re not the only ones, are you? AT: Jim Haynes in Paris has been holding Sunday dinners, each week, for 37 years. People like him and Marjorie Eliot in Harlem, who holds weekly jazz concerts, want to give something back to their communities and make new friends. U: What are the most inspirational living spaces you’ve covered in OH? AT: We got to stay in the house of [Sydney Opera House designer] Jørn Utzon. This was very special, and quite spiritual for me. Openhouse is published twice a year, openhouse-magazine.com
USA public transport numbers down Picture Pexels.com
America embraces the car (again)
+ Empty roads are seemingly a pipe dream for US drivers
The number of passengers using public transport in New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles (plus other US cities) has declined. According to a report by CityLab, while millennials are keen to move into urban areas, large amount of immigrants – once the backbone of public transportation users – are moving to the suburbs. Other factors include the rise of car-sharing schemes, poor service in some cities and a booming economy, which is encouraging people to buy new cars . However, it’s not all bad news. Rail rider numbers are up in Chicago, while Seattle’s population has just voted for an increase in bus lanes. The aim is to increase the amount of people who live by a regular bus service from 25 per cent to 72 per cent by 2025.
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Apple Campus 2, Cupertino, USA Picture by Apple Inc. The new Apple HQ – due to be opened later in the spring – is either an investment in innovation or the largest act of hubris in corporate history. Complementing Apple’s Infinite Loop campus, the new headquarters, officially called ‘Apple Park’, will have room for 12,000 employees. This stunning building hasn’t come cheap, though: the cost for the project is $5bn.
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T HE UMBREL L A–IS T
No. 6: Derek Ridgers Quotes from people we admire While many 1970s kids were picking up guitars in homage to punk, Derek Ridgers armed himself with a camera, capturing the energy of Britain’s subcultures in the faces of their protagonists. From skinheads and bikers to new romantics and the club kids of today, the ex-advertising art director has documented the scenes that like to dress up and, all too often, disappear, only to be replaced by something different. Ridgers has shot for magazines such as The Face, NME and Loaded – his blackand-white photos of rubber-clad S&M clubbers in the latter were in contrast to the rest of mag– and snapped celebrities like Boy George, James Brown and Johnny Depp. You can find his work in books such as When We Were Young: Club And Street Portraits 1978–1987. Here, Ridgers talks about the scenes that make Britain exciting, what makes a good photograph and how technology has made documenting your scene easier than ever. “In the ’70s, I started to carry a camera wherever I went. Four decades on it appears that I was documenting something, although it was never planned that way.” “All my work could be seen as a sort of love letter to London. I don’t know of any British subculture from the past that I wouldn’t have wanted to photograph.” “I hate the genre of celebrity portraiture where the sitter has been induced to do something they wouldn’t ordinarily do. With everyday folk, the only way to do a good job is to take your time, stay out of the way and not manipulate anything.”
Pictures Derek Ridgers
Editions Umbrella 15
Interview Elliott Lewis-George Further information derekridgers.com
“In the mid-’70s I made the leap from music fan to keen amateur photographer. Then from keen amateur to professional photographer. The day I started to get commissions from the NME was the day I was finally able to think of myself as a fulltime professional photographer — in 1982. From then I was able to earn a living.” “I’ve never really been intimidated by my subjects. If a situation ever looks like it might get out of hand then I just leave and never get to find out what might have happened.” “The skinheads were the only ones who ever approached me to get their picture taken, rather than the other way around. The only ones that really aren’t very keen are the bikers.” “Every subculture I’ve documented has been interesting in its own way. Punk opened my eyes to the possibility of photographing a group of people that I didn’t know. Punk was also obviously very photogenic and it was quite an easy way into documentary portraiture. The skinheads made me take what I was doing a lot more seriously; photographing them made me realise that I needed to watch my back. And the new romantics showed me just how truly creative young people can be.” “I disagree with the premise that style is weapon for anarchy: 99.99 per cent of the time, the people with an anarchy symbol painted on their leather jackets are anything but.” “Instagram has had a tremendous effect on documentary photography. Nowadays, everyone can document their lives and the lives of people around them and some of it – a lot of it, actually – is very interesting.”
“Parties and nightclubs are not really places for nuance. If I’m going to have some sort of an issue with someone, I can almost always tell a long time before it actually happens and to save everyone the grief, I just leave. But it does help if one always has an angel sitting on one’s shoulder.”
“The skinheads were the only ones who ever approached me to get their picture taken” “I my honest opinion, if you really want to know what makes a great portrait, you’d need to study the work of Richard Avedon [American fashion and portrait photographer]. I think he was the greatest.” “For great portraiture I think there has to be some sort of meaning behind it. This means emotional depth and an element of truth. The best way to achieve this is if the photographer doesn’t insert themselves too far into the whole equation — let the camera do the work – would be my advice.” “I know of several books that have been published directly from work first seen on Instagram. But really there could be thousands out there. Millions maybe. Back when I started there wasn’t quite the same level of desire to record things. To see one’s work get published was almost as rare as winning the lottery. I had to wait years for my first book to be published.” In The Eighties – Portraits From Another Time is published by Carpet Bombing Culture. Available September 2017
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Pictures Wikimedia Commons Words Terry Daley, Tommy Melville
I DENTITY IN EUROPE
“My daughter’s as Roman as Francesco Totti”
I like to play a little game when friends come to visit in Rome. It’s usually summer, and the banks of the Tiber are covered with temporary bars, and stalls selling tat, while tourists and locals mill about alongside the blonde, burping river. In the middle of it all, looking out from Ponte Garibaldi, stands the Tiber Island. I ask visitors what they think the elegant building that dominates the island is. “A hotel? Flats?” “It’s a hospital, and it’s been there since 1534. Oh, and my baby daughter was born there.” The day she arrived I walked her around the Fatebenefratelli maternity ward, watching her sleep in the trolley while new grandparents streamed in to see their own olive-skinned cherubs. They stopped, taken aback by my daughter’s porcelain whiteness, exclaiming “she looks like a doll”! Even now when we walk around our neighbourhood, women stop us to gaze at this foreign being, and yet by virtue of where she was born, this blued-eyed, British bambollotta, is as Roman as Francesco Totti. Our spot in south Rome is less than three miles from the island as the crow flies (and less than one-and-a-half from the ancient Aurelian walls that ring the historic central rioni) but thanks to the city’s poor public transport, apocalyptic traffic and post-war architecture it can feel a lot more. The Tor Marancia and Garbatella districts are dominated by council housing – some of it captivatingly ornate – and these estates give the area a distinctly working-class and specifically Roman vibe that contrasts with the Disneyland atmosphere of the city centre. Agostino Di Bartolomeo, AS Roma’s other legendary title-winning captain and symbol of Romanità, was raised here. Much like my dad, born Cockney by two West End-raised parents, my daughter is growing up in an area that epitomises their cities’ traditional, for want of a better word, indigenous working class. My granddad once referred to moving to Wandsworth as “moving out of London”, but while once upon a time where we live now would have been seen as a way out of the slums, out of the city even, Rome has expanded so much that when the local kids buzz about on their scooters they carry that authentic urban swagger with them. My daughter’s home environment is English, as most of her early utterances have been, and despite her dual nationality, if we returned to Britain right now, no-one would take her for Italian, least of all Italians. Her first ciaos and exclamatory ahòs however, are an early sign of the distinctly Roman imprint that’s already rubbing off on her. She’s as unique as the city of her birth, and I couldn’t be happier. TD
Pictures Matt Reynolds
Editions Umbrella 17
Words Elliott Lewis-George
“I could see the floodlights from my bedroom” Despite Fulham FC’s success over the years, a Fulham fan is a rare thing. Commitment to the club is usually thanks to living near the stadium, Craven Cottage, or through inheriting it from a family member. And I’m the former: that most rare of beasts, a football fan from near my team’s ground. I grew up on a street that runs down from Fulham Palace Rd to Craven Cottage. I could see the floodlights from my bedroom and, if I wasn’t at a game, kept track of the score by counting the number – and size – of crowd cheers. Large cheer = home goal. Stunned silence combined with small cheer = opposition goal. For the 15 years I lived on Ellerby Street the community welcomed thousands of fans to play at the beautiful Victorian ground. Real trouble was infrequent but the influx of significant number of opposition fans on matchdays gives the borough’s family atmosphere an edge. Alcohol plays a large part in most away fan’s day. This, combined with the pack mentality football inspires, gives visitors the air of an invading army: Fulham is their playground for the day and picking up beer cans from the garden is a Sunday morning ritual. It’s not ideal but you get used to it.
Fulham FC is key to my identity. I find it difficult to understand why people don’t support their local team: how do they associate with a club based in a city that’s as culturally different as it is far away? Fulham FC and I have so much in common because of our shared birthplace and history. Despite the Europa League run of the 2009/10, one of my greatest Fulham memories is actually of beating Carlisle Utd 5-0 in the 1997/98 season. Kevin Keegan had just arrived as manager and the sense of hope was tangible. An emotionally overwhelmed marshall sobbed into her high-vis jacket as we left the stadium. I’m not sure you get that shared sense of belonging following a team vicariously through the TV. I know my Liverpool-supporting, Woking-born friend doesn’t. Upon discovering I’m a Fulham fan (from Fulham) I normally receive a look of affection. It feels like Fulham is everyone’s second club. A surprising number of people have visited Craven Cottage, and I’ve yet to meet a person who hasn’t loved the place. A true Fulham fan may be rare, but any visitor leaving the Cottage finds the place stamped on their memory. They may not leave a fan, but they will an admirer. And as a local that fills me with pride. TM
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Pictures Joey Yu
Editions Umbrella 19
Interview Matt Reynolds
Q&A Deyan Sudjic We live in a predominantly urban world, with more and more of us choosing to live in built-up areas. Umbrella’s Matt Reynolds spoke to Deyan Sudjic, director of London’s Design Museum and author of new book, The Language of Cities, about how we define the urban environment in the 21st century
Umbrella: Hi Deyan. One of the themes you touch on in the book is urban transformation. We’ve seen this happen in London’s Docklands – how did those changes come about? Deyan Sudjic: Never underestimate the power of unintended consequences. When an American shipping tycoon set out to speed up the transit of cargo and protect it from theft by standardising the shipping container, he had no idea that a quarter of a century later his low-tech innovation would’ve wiped out every upstream dock in the world. Huge areas, from the Isle of Dogs in London to New York’s piers, were transformed into urban wastelands. U: Can you expand on that? DS: In the case of London’s Docklands the first attempts to deal with the dereliction were to have equally unintended consequences. Canary Wharf – now Europe’s second-largest financial centre outside the City of London – was first envisaged as a business park containing warehouses and light industry in low-rise tin sheds. The idea was that companies would be encouraged to set up there thanks to the government lifting planning controls and offering tax breaks. Nobody expected one day those tax breaks would be used to build skyscrapers! The result has been a distortion of London’s public transport system in an attempt to catch up
with the tens of thousands of jobs created there, and the rebuilding of the entire area twice in the course of 25 years.
U: Has there been a loss of faith in the idea of ‘grand planners’ such as Baron Haussmann in Paris or New York’s Robert Moses? DS: People love Haussmann’s Paris, the most selfconsciously planned of cities. They also love Beijing’s Forbidden City, an idea of urbanism based on a diagram of Heaven to consolidate the Emperor’s symbolic place at its heart. They love the astonishing paradox of the order of Manhattan’s grid, and the visual anarchy of its skyline. However, they’re suspicious of grand planners – after all, we’re living in an age in which Michael Gove says the British people are “sick of experts”. Instead we rely on the often frivolous gestures of ambitious mayors keen to leave their mark so we end up with pointless cable cars and garden bridges. U: What effect is the digital era having on cities? DS: When the internet was young we thought it would turn us all into home workers living in a kind of William Morris-inspired rustic utopia. Like the paperless office, that never actually happened. We still commute to work, but that doesn’t mean the urban environment hasn’t been turned upside down by the digital explosion.
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There are benign aspects to it: for example we can navigate our cities more effectively using real-time traffic data made available by TFL in London and other transit authorities around the country. We can use Airbnb to find alternatives to hotels, and Uber is transforming how we move around.
U: But it’s not all good, right? DS: There are more troublesome aspects: smartphones have created a kind of ‘always available’ digital slavery rather than the freedom they initially promised. The rise of Amazon is killing the traditional high street, and its impact is only going to become more and more pronounced. Grindr and Tinder provide all the sexual encounters anybody could possible hope for, but what is the future for cruising in the physical world? Self-driving cars are going to radically impact car ownership, changing the face of our cities once again. Perhaps most alarming of all, the smartphone has killed off the idea of privacy – an essential aspect of urban life for millennia. A city was once a place in which anonymity was possible, where you could be yourself, choose who you wanted to be. Now the digital lynch mob of social media has taken us back to the Middle Ages! U: How important are monuments in defining how a city sees itself? DS: Hugely important. The histories of Berlin and Moscow show how much significance politicians place in manipulating the identity of their cities through the symbolic meanings of their monuments. In Berlin at the height of the Cold War, the East Germans blew up the old Royal Palace and replaced it with the bronze-mirrored structure known as ‘The Palace of the Republic’. After reunification, the new Germany decided to wipe it out and rebuild a replica of the lost Royal Palace – without even knowing what they would use if for. The politicians blamed asbestos for the wasteful demolition of a 25-year old building, but it was the idea of the city that was at stake. Something very similar happened in Moscow. Stalin demolished The Cathedral Of Christ The Saviour to make way for the megalomaniacal – and unfinished – Palace Of The Soviets. Following that, Khruschev marked the end of Stalinism by turning the palace’s foundations into an open-air swimming pool, and, after that, in the dying days of the Soviet Union, the mayor of Moscow rebuilt the lost cathedral. The whole thing came full circle.
urban theory U: Umbrella is an admirer of post-war modernist architecture – in particular the egalitarian ideals that underpin it. What do you make of the craze for demolishing these buildings and replacing them with more fashionable alternatives? DS: Laver’s Law – formulated half tongue-in-cheek by a curator at the Victoria and Albert Museum – sets out to explain how the cycle of fashion works. It states that when clothing that is ahead of its time first appears it is seen as ‘outrageous’ or ‘shocking’. Over time as it becomes more familiar it reaches the right moment to be considered ‘chic’. This is the high point. After this, it ages, moving into ‘dated’, and ‘dowdy’ territory. As yet more time passes it becomes ‘hideous’, then, if it survives long enough it becomes regarded as ‘quaint’, and finally ‘historic’ and ‘beautiful’.
“The digital lynch mob of social media has taken us back to the Middle Ages” In the world of fashion that cycle now moves at warp speed, but for architecture it’s much slower. You can see it in the case of the former Commonwealth Institute which is now the home of the Design Museum. When we considered it for the first time it was regarded by many as hideous, but then the 20th Century Society had it listed. Now, like so much midcentury modern architecture, it has heritage status. Exactly the same thing had happened in the 1960s when ‘unfashionable’ Victorian buildings were being knocked down to make way for modern ones. Over time the brutalist buildings of this period have gone from being regarded as new and exciting to eyesores to an amusing acquired taste to the status of cherished heritage.
U: Do you believe that we feel more pride in calling ourselves residents of cities – Londoners, Muscovites, Mancunians, Berliners for example – than our national identities? DS: I’m not sure it’s a question of pride that makes us see ourselves as Londoners or Muscovites rather than Brits or Russians, but that an urban identity is somehow so much more appealing than a national identity. Trump would have a hard time building a wall to stop suburbanites from pouring into Manhattan! The Language Of Cities is available now, published by Allen Lane, priced £25
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food & drink
Pictures Fig Tree Publishing
Editions Umbrella 23
Recipes Felicity Cloake
Love letters Food writer Felicity Cloake’s new book offers an ingredient for each letter of the alphabet
While she’s not busy writing The Guardian’s How to Make the Perfect column, or Instagramming her cairn terrier Wilf, Felicity Cloake has created a smart update on the traditional cookbook – basing dishes aound a different ingredient for each of the 26 letters of the alphabet. So, for example, under ‘C’ you’ll find caramel recipes (roast duck with miso caramel is a particular favourite) and under ‘R’ it’s rhubarb recipes (rhubarb gin granita, naturally). As she explains, “This is a cookbook for people who are looking for inspiration rather than instruction; one that will make you look at familiar ingredients in a new light, and welcome new ones with open arms. “There are also more straightforward dishes; chorizo baked potatoes with avocado crema; slow roast tomato pasta with lemon salt, ricotta and basil. And there are many more playful takes on favourite dishes: salted peanut caramel crispy cakes, aloo tikki scotch eggs, buttermilk onion rings.” She’s been kind enough to share two recipes from the book here. Tuck in. The A-Z Of Eating: A Flavour Map For The Adventurous Cook by Felicity Cloake is available now from Fig Tree Publishing, priced £25
Beetroot noodles with goat’s cheese, toasted walnuts and baby kale Serves 2
300ml beetroot juice
200g spaghetti or other pasta of
4 big handfuls of baby kale or
other young greens
100g soft goat’s cheese
“I must confess the clever notion of cooking pasta in vegetable juice is not my own; I read about it in an American food magazine on the Tube one evening and could hardly wait to get home and try it. As well as turning the noodles a shockingly lovely pink, the reduced juice lends them a sticky vegetable sweetness. This works particularly well with creamy, lactic goat’s cheese and bitter toasted walnuts, though that first evening I used a tiny hunk of salty pecorino that had been falling from the fridge door with irritating regularity for some weeks. That worked just fine, too.” Bring a large pan of well-salted water to a rolling boil, then add the pasta. Cook for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, toast the walnuts in a dry pan until aromatic, then roughly chop and set aside. Bring the beetroot juice to a simmer in a medium pan. Drain the pasta and add to the pan with the beetroot juice. Cook for about another 5 minutes, until the noodles are al dente (exactly how long will depend on your pasta and your preferences) and the juice is thick – be careful they don’t stick. If it does look a little dry before they’re done, stir in a splash more juice. Stir in the kale to wilt, then season well to taste; the juice will be quite sweet, so it will be able to take a generous amount of salt and black pepper. Divide between bowls and scatter with chopped nuts and blobs of cheese – the cheese can be stirred in by the eater, but it looks prettier pristine and white against the pink pasta. Serve immediately.
food & drink
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Mexican chilli chocolate mousse Serves 2
300ml beetroot juice
200g spaghetti or other pasta of
4 big handfuls of baby kale or
other young greens
100g soft goat’s cheese
“Ten years on, Oaxaca’s vast Mercado 20 de Noviembre remains as vivid in my mind as ever. It’s that kind of place. One of the things I remember making the biggest impression, aside from the wicker baskets of deep-fried grasshoppers that I never quite plucked up the courage to try, was the hot chocolate. Thick, and at once astonishingly sweet and powerfully bitter, the spices brought out the flavour of the cocoa like a dream. This is the mousse version. A word of caution from one who’s been there; though all egg-white mousses are beautifully light, you really do have to be quick when combining the ingredients in step 4, or the chocolate will seize. I keep extra ingredients on hand in case of such disaster.”
Grind the chipotle flakes into a fine powder, then mix with the other spices, sugar and salt. Put the chocolate into a heatproof bowl set over, but not touching, a pan of simmering water, and melt, stirring to help it along. Meanwhile, whisk the egg whites in a large bowl until they hold soft peaks. Whisk in the spiced sugar to stiff peak stage, being careful not to overwhisk (if they droop, you’ll have to start again). Once the chocolate has melted, take the bowl off the pan and, working very quickly, vigorously whisk in a third of the whites; you need to do this as fast as possible or the chocolate will seize and harden – the mixture should be thick, but not dull or grainy. Gently fold in the remaining egg whites with a large metal spoon until the mixture has no white streaks, being careful to keep as much air in as possible. Divide between four glasses or bowls and chill until ready to serve. Top with a few flakes of chilli for extra drama.
The Umbrella blog: the web, but cooler umbrellamagazine.co.uk The latest trainers, the best new clothes, too many photographs of strange European housing estatesâ€Ś the Umbrella blog keeps you up to date with everything thatâ€™s important in our world. And lots of stuff we just happen to like.
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Pictures Dan Howden
Editions Umbrella 27
Words Elliott Lewis-George, Anthony Teasdale
The simple pleasures of… a Saturday afternoon nap
The small miseries of… sirens Sirens are the bane of my life. Yes, they’re necessary – how else are coppers going to get home in time for their tea? – but do they have to be so piercingly loud? Old sirens, like the ones in The Sweeney, went ‘nee-naw’ were fine, but the new ‘woo! woo! woo! woo!’ versions send your heart racing into ‘Hmm, I’ve got a sudden pressing pain in my chest’ territory. The only time I’d advocate them is when I’m the poor bastard in the ambulance hanging on to dear life. Then all bets are off. Obviously. AT
In 1994, everyone’s fourth-favourite rapper Nas declared, via his Illmatic track N.Y. State of Mind, that “sleep is the cousin of death”. We all know that New York is the city that never sleeps, so that’s absolutely fair enough for him. However, I think the Queensbridge MC would waver on his sinister opinion of slumber after a quick 45 minute snooze on a drizzly Saturday afternoon. There are so many things you can do with a Saturday: treat your old man to a full english at his favourite cafe, dart about town running errands, catch up with old pals over a couple of imported lagers, alphabetise your impressive collection of Chicago house records, watch your team let you down, again. All these activities aside, it’s your right as a hardworking, always-online individual to down tools at 5pm sharp, sprawl out in the soft palm of your sofa and pass the time by just passing out for a little bit. I suspect most of us are usually soothed to sleep by the sound of Saturday’s goals rolling through on Final Score –
the secret ingredient to a truly wonderful afternoon nap. As a nipper, we were sung to sleep with a tender lullaby, but from my teens nothing sent me off like the soft tones of the final score announcer Tim Gudgin. Like some kind of calming, faceless granddad off Grandstand, Gudgin would get as far as the Championship before I’d be off in the land of nod. I suspect it was a sleepless Saturday afternoon for all of us when dear old Gudgin read the results for the very last time on 11th November, 2011. We all know that sleep is good for us, except for maybe Nas and those blokes who ride the night bus until it terminates and back again, but there’s something spiritual about a Saturday afternoon snooze. You never wake up refreshed, you wake up a bit hazy, stoned even. Maybe, just maybe, it’s the purest feeling of relaxation you can possibly feel. Leave meditation to Sting. You just stick your feet up and drift off for a bit, mate. You deserve it. Just do not, under any circumstances, call it a disco nap. ELG
Follow us on Instagram Daily updates on stuff that we love Everything interesting that’s caught our eye, from brutalist Soviet tower blocks to expensive jackets with loads of pockets. Well you can’t look at David Beckham’s feed all day, can you?
30 A irbags for cyclists 32 G lasgow 36 B ritish Rail 46 H ow do you solve problem like…
56 W orld’s best taxis
Field trip Transport, travel and exploration
32 The high life Benidorm is an undiscovered architectural gem: Spain’s answer to Hong Kong. Read how it went from fishing village to city of the future in the space of two decades.
40 Lines of beauty The UK’s nationalised railway service may be a distant memory, but its visual language is a proud legacy. In this feature, we look at British Rail’s coporate identity, from the Inter City 125 to the uniforms of its staff.
32 There’ s much to admire about post-war housing, but so often ideas dreamed up idealistic architects ended in failure. Glasgow photographer Chris Leslie has explored the abandoned tower blocks of his city, recording scenes of desolation as families are moved from the cities in the sky to less conspicuous housing.
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Words Mischa Gilbert David Kenning
Blowing up Could the bicycle helmet be made redundant by a remarkable new product from Sweden? Mischa Gilbert tells the story of the Hövding To a casual observer, the merits of a cycling helmet are obvious. Sure, it messes up your hair, but that’s a small price to pay for keeping the grey matter safe. Dig a bit, though, and you find some surprisingly divergent views among cyclists, experts and advocates. For example, studies have shown that wearing head protection on a bike may actually put you in greater danger: helmets can encourage cyclists to take more risks because they feel less vulnerable; equally so drivers, who overtake with less margin for error. Confusing. Nevertheless, if you put a melon in a cycle helmet and drop it onto concrete it remains relatively intact: without, it’s smashed to bits. Dispiritingly, however, it turns out that while a melon – or if you prefer, your head – stays whole, it’s still been subjected to around a force of 200G. Conclusion: wearing a helmet isn’t really effective. Luckily, some clever Swedes have decided to make an airbag for cyclists. They’ve already sold over 35,000 of them, too. Worn over the shoulders and around the neck, and resembling a heavy duty snood, the Hövding (which translates as ‘chief’ and is a play on the word ‘head’) inflates within 1/10th of a second in the event of an accident. There’s a lot of clever tech under the hood. Sensors monitor movement 200 times a second, feeding data into an algorithm, ready to deploy using ‘cold inflation’ (helium) rather than the usual car airbag pyrotechnics (nitrogen). The device is ‘armed’ by clipping an on/off fastener into place. A recent Stanford University study showed the Hövding offers eight times more protection than a conventional helmet. In real terms, this reduces the chances of serious [head] injury, or death, from an alarmingly high 90- and 30 per cent respectively, to almost zero. But Hövding has a challenge: uniqueness. It doesn’t look, feel, or work like a helmet. As CEO, Fredrik Carling, says: “Every company wants to have a USP, but sometimes you can be too different. With Hövding we have the opposite problem: we need to normalise it.” Carling sees a key ingredient to wider acceptance as championing ‘everyday heroes’ – people who choose a greener, simpler, healthier and in many cases, faster form of transport. And the company wants to go beyond innovation. Earlier this year in London they distributed a digital bell. Cyclists could ring it every time they spotted a hazard, which mapped the danger in real time for others, and also alerted the mayor by email. The future looks promising. “We’re on the second version,” says Carling, “and it’s great now. But we’re only at the beginning!” And for the style-conscious among us, that means no more helmet hair. hovding.com
+ The Hövding protects the rider’s head and neck
+ Right, As the cyclist is hit, the Hövding automatically inflates to cushion the blow
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“I don’t wear a crash helmet” By David Kenning, Deputy Editor, Bikes Etc magazine As a kid in the ’80s, I spent my free time riding round the local woods on my BMX. My kit? T-shirt, shorts and trainers. The idea of wearing a helmet never occurred to me – no one wore them in those days. Sure, we fell off, but serious injuries were rare. Cycling was safe. And 30 years later, that’s still true – you’re far more likely to suffer a head injury in your own kitchen than on your bike. Unfortunately, the increasing prevalence of cycle helmets sends out the opposite message: cycling is dangerous. So people are put off riding a bike. If we can normalise cycling as an everyday activity rather than an extreme sport that requires special safety gear, motorists will get used to sharing the road with bikes as they do in places like Amsterdam and Copenhagen. But what if you get knocked off? Sure, helmets can prevent cuts and bruises, and may even reduce the likelihood of brain injury by absorbing some of the impact in a fall, but what they won’t do is save your life if you’re hit by a bus. Don’t get me wrong, modern bike helmets are fantastic for Wiggo-wannabee MAMILs, but if you’re just popping to the shops for a pint of milk leave the lid at home and treat yourself to the feeling of the wind in your hair. You’ll live, I promise.
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Pictures Chris Leslie Interview Anthony Teasdale Further information freightbooks.co.uk
The end of the road Photographer Chris Leslie has captured the decaying tower blocks of Glasgow in a beautiful and important new book here are few more handsome cities than Glasgow. But for photographer Chris Leslie, it’s not the warehouses of the Merchant City or the sandstone tenements of the West End that interest him, but the notorious high-rise estates on the edge of town. And it’s those developments that are the focus of his book, Disappearing Glasgow. Once the embodiment of 1960s optimism, Glasgow’s tower blocks became synonymous with the economic decline of the city, slowly disintegrating until they were unfit for habitation. Since the 1990s, the local council has demolished many of them, something which Chris Leslie started to capture as part of his master’s degree in 2007. Graduating with distinction in 2010, he’s carried on with the project until the present day. Here, he tells Umbrella why.
Umbrella: What attracts you to Glasgow’s estates? Chris Leslie: High-rise landscapes like Sighthill and Red Road were fantastic to photograph. But what was more important were the stories the blocks contained. I wanted to find out what turned them from being the solution to a housing crisis in the 1960/’70s to a ‘problem’ later on. U: A lot of these estates are being demolished. How do you feel about that? CL: I’ve never lived in a high-rise or a ‘sink estate’ so it was never really for me to really comment. But we’re witnessing a major turning point in Glasgow’s social history and these tower blocks needed to be documented before they disappear. U: Can you tell us a bit more about the Red Road flats? CL: They were the most iconic of all the city’s high-rise estates due to their sheer size and scale, and later, their
notoriety as a place no-one wanted to live. But roll back to when they were first constructed in 1967 and they were in big demand. Soviet town planners visited the site for inspiration.
U: So what went wrong? CL: When heavy industry left the area in the late 1970s/’80s, the north of the city, and Red Road flats in particular, began their slow decline. Poor management from the Glasgow Corporation and subsequent city council left the buildings neglected. High unemployment and drugs moved in and families moved out. Attempts to rebrand the flats as student accommodation had limited success but when asylumseekers moved there in the late-’90s their fate was sealed. They were finally demolished in October 2015. U: What was the strangest thing you saw? CL: I’d heard rumours there was an ‘underground level’ to the Red Road flats that had been closed off since the late’90s. In 2011, when the demolition crews needed access, it was opened to reveal an abandoned underground ‘bunker’ that once housed the local amenities for the 4,700 residents. U: Incredible. What was it like? CL: This underground world consisted of a nautically themed bar called The Brig – a local pub without windows, but with boat-themed decor, wood-panelled walls and compass tables. Next door was a staggering 1,000-seater Mecca Bingo Hall, a favourite haunt for Red Road’s ladies. Completely flooded and partially damaged by fire, it still managed to retain its grandiose interiors of mirrored pillars and a bold red-and-blue colour scheme. Disappearing Glasgow is published by freightbooks.co.uk, £14.99
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Pictures British Rail, Wallace Henning Words John Mackin, Matt Reynolds Further information britishrailmanual.com
This was the age of the train Nationalisation brought UK railways under one umbrella, but it took a comprehensive graphic overhaul to cement its identity
A rail system for the people John Mackin tells the story of British Rail and how modernist Scandinavian design influenced the look of the national network
+ Above, British Rail’s ‘double arrow’ logo – still in use today
As seminal as the NHS, the 1947 nationalisation of the four private, regional rail companies to create British Railways, lit the path for progressive postwar Britain. The railways had been the backbone of a wartime nation but had fallen into disrepair. The massive investment needed to play its part as a regenerative force could only be met by nationalisation. Ideologically, it was to be a railway of the future: by the people, for the people. However, the railways were slow in shedding their traditional liveries and practices. Staff, trains and stations looked much as they did pre-war. In a nation of shortages, climbing out of the quagmire of war, this was not a problem. But when petrol rationing ended in 1950, people suddenly wanted the freedom of the open road; a little glamour in their lives. Railways couldn’t supply this and came under financial pressure to compete. Even after Beeching’s infamous cuts of 1963, the whole enterprise needed a comprehensive radical reappraisal. Fleets of aging rolling stock were replaced with new diesel and electric engines and stations rebuilt, echoing the clean, modernism of Mies van der Rohe. Yet still the railways struggled. They needed to forge a unifying ‘brand’ - a way to distinguish and distance their new modern world from the old Victorian railways. By the ’60s the home-grown futurism of Thunderbirds collided with the Scandinavian modernism invading British homes. Everything prewar was outmoded. Victoriana was to be dismantled (it almost cost us St Pancras station, and actually did do away with The Euston Arch). The new rail enterprise had to say: ‘modern European’, not ‘traditional British’. Designers understood this need for ‘industrial glamour’. They knew the railways had to sit with jet passenger aircraft and modern motorways. This manifesto for modernism was kick started by the 1960 Glasgow Area electrification project, and the more comprehensive 1963 ‘New Design for British Railways’ exhibition, featuring experimental designs for uniforms, livery and graphic design. This in turn inspired the British Railways Board into commissioning an enterprise-wide review of its identity, entrusted to the Design Research Unit (DRU).
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A modern identity for a modern railway The Design Research Unit was chosen for British Rail’s rebrand, and, as John Mackin shows, its influence lasted until the system was broken up
+ Above, The chaps from the Design Research Unit at work
The multi-disciplinary art and design house DRU was famously part of the ‘Britain Can Make It Exhibition’ in 1946, and the Festival Of Britain in 1951, going on to work on company brand marks, and interior designs for buildings and ships. The DRU was tasked with producing a universal, visually coherent corporate redesign of the railway’s entirety: uniforms, signage, advertising, rolling stock livery; everything from how to paint a diesel engine, down to a restaurant menu layout. Famously the DRU designed the ubiquitous ‘Double Arrow’ symbol, still printed on every railway ticket issued today. Railways traditionally used heraldry - the Lion and Wheel - as their brand marks. Post-1947 they sought a more modern look; the ‘squashed London Underground’ logo was used, nicknamed ‘the hotdog’. Neither hotdog nor heraldry were good enough. The DRU threw open the design to all its employees and eventually settled on two. Collis Clements of the DRU Corporate Image
team proposed two interlocked circles with an arrow, a vector implying direction. The other, the ‘double arrow’, was the work of Gerry Barney, an untrained designer who worked as a draughtsman on the Lettering Team. Barney famously sketched his idea on the back of an envelope on a London Underground commute. This now-iconic design is, as Barney noted, “fairly self-explanatory, so simple... Collis’s symbol could be anything. It could be trucks. Mine was about railways, with the parallel lines. One going up, the other coming back. Everything was arrows back then.” A leaflet from the 1965 Design Centre exhibition first displayed this symbol alongside the new name ‘British Rail’. It read “everything seen and used by the public, every station, every sign, every piece of printed matter will be given an instantly recognisable family likeness”. A corporate identity. And from this multitude of design elements was born the Corporate Identity Manual - a single point of reference for the entire look of BR for almost two decades.
Manual labour Wallace Henning, creator of the reissued British Rail Corporate Identity Manual
+ Above, The reissued Corporate Identity Manual, featuring the Design Research Unit’s iconic branding work for British Rail
A project as iconic as the Design Research Unit‘s identity for British Rail was always going to attract admirers. Fifty-two years on from the publication of the original Corporate Identity Manual, designer Wallace Henning has, with full agreement from the Department of Transport and the help of a hugely successful Kickstarter campaign, painstakingly pieced together a high specification reproduction of the guidelines. Featuring nearly 500 beautifiully-presented pages – including an introduction by the former head of design at British Rail and an interview with ‘double arrow’ designer Gerry Barney – the book covers everything from logotype, lettering and colour palettes to signposting, uniforms and stationery. As Wallace says, “I have a love for infrastructure systems, and railway networks in particular are a favourite of mine. When I finally located my original copy of the manual I found there was a lot of interest in it. I thought I should republish it for more people to enjoy and learn from.” We couldn’t agree more. Over the next few pages we choose some our favourite designs from the manual (including a very sharp Ticket Office Clerk uniform). All aboard!
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Pictures David Craig, Yusuf Sangdes Words Simon Cunningham Further information assemblybd.com
How do you solve a problem like... Darley Street, Bradford The city high street that’s seen better days In West Yorkshire’s Victorian metropolis, the once-vibrant high street is a shadow of its former self. Darley Street – the steep climb linking the civic precinct with the old market area – is empty and unloved. Most shops moved to the Westfield mall when it finally opened on Broadway in 2015, leaving an urban planning nightmare for a city already trying to play catchup with Leeds. So what to do with a problem like Darley Street? As part of our new series looking at urban dilemmas, we ask four experts for their solutions…
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I D E A 2 : A G E I N G H I P S T E R PA R A D I S E
“Focus on leisure and pleasure for older folk who’ve rejected slippers and tea” Leader of the opposition on Bradford city council and regeneration expert Simon Cooke sees Darley Street as a smart retirement community
I D E A 1 : F I L L T H I S TO W N W I T H A RT I S T S
“Make all Darley Street rent-free – encourage it to be full of artists and independent traders” Architect Will Alsop developed a bonkers masterplan for Bradford back in 2003 (complete with giant lake) and says creatives are its future What’s happened with Westfield in Bradford has happened to high streets across the UK, even with somewhere like Kensington High Street near me. We had the big Westfield and people said, “Oh Kensington will be fine,” but it’s not you know. There’s no shops. It’s all estate agents now. So for Bradford, I’d rather see the shops empty than full of estate agents. Make the whole of Darley Street rent-free – all of it – to encourage it to be full of artists and independent traders. Building anything would be pointless as you’ve already got some quite beautiful buildings.
In a world where retail centres are shrinking we need to focus on leisure and pleasure as the main purpose of our city centres. So let’s look at turning Darley Street into a residential development that picks up a growing demographic of older people who’ve rejected slippers and a mug of tea for something funkier. Slip in a little concert hall and a music bar, get a sort of gentleman’s club feel going. The aim is partly to make the walk from North Parade [the indie/market quarter] to Broadway [the new high street] engaging and maybe a bit distracting. So some interesting greenery and public art – perhaps a few weird benches – would break up the journey.
IDEA 3: REBUILD AN OLD MASTERPIECE
“Bring back what was there in 1877” Chairman of Bradford Civic Society Alan Hall proposes rebuilding the city’s glorious, and much missed, 1877 market hall… If I had a magic wand I’d demolish the Kirkgate Centre [thrown up in 1972] and bring back what was there before – Lockwood and Mawson’s fabulous Kirkgate Market Hall. In the absence of a magic wand, modern-day Darley Street has the advantage of being pedestrianised, so capitalise on that. Encourage some shops – preferably independents – but mix it with a couple of bars and restaurants, which could utilise the pedestrian area to create a bit of outdoor cafe culture.
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IDEA 4: REBRAND AS LITTLE AMSTERDAM
“It wouldn’t be ‘bling’, its bling is from its wool days. It’d need to be robust, honest and good value”
Having just returned from Amsterdam, it struck me how many people live and work right in the heart of the city. They make things, too. Within a fiveminute stroll, I spotted a tailor, a printing press, a graphic design studio, an architects’ practice and a fabrication lab, all tucked into lower-ground floors, with tall, narrow homes above them. What central Bradford lacks is quality housing and city-centre employment opportunities for the next generation. Given the way the future of work is heading, with portfolio working and the gig economy, I would look to redevelop Darley Street to create a mixture of co-housing, quality small apartments and family townhouses with a shared park, all nestled over a selection of small ground-floor maker spaces, co-working hubs, small offices, and some cafes. A place where people can live, work, and play. It wouldn’t be ‘bling’, Bradford’s bling is from its wool days. It’d need to be robust, honest, and good value. Come on Bradford city council, show some balls! Purchase the lot in partnership with a forwardlooking developer, get a community share offer sorted, and make this happen, invest in a future for the city and its young population.
Umbrella’s verdict The dilemma for Bradford is whether to try and salvage any scraps of retail for Darley Street. It’s worth noting that the street’s most prominent building – the gigantic and brutal Kirkgate Centre – still attracts some shoppers. Interestingly, no-one on our panel saw retail being the future, with the consensus that creativity is the key to success. The notion of free space for artists is an exciting one that’s done wonders for other parts of the UK, and in Bradford is already being trialled in the former Marks & Spencer’s building – but it fails to address the long-term practicalities of greedy landlords wanting eye-watering rents for crumbling buildings. Umbrella sees merit in all the potential solutions offered here, and can see that all of them would probably require the compulsory purchase of Darley Street’s heritage buildings to unify their purpose. But if these buildings are to thrive and develop as attractive community spaces, they surely need a bit of breathing space, too – which is why we’d go one step further by nicking a bit of land back from a de-scaled Kirkgate Centre to create new linear gardens climbing up Darley Street – maybe with a nifty little Lisbon-style tram car to lift folk up the hill. That way the old place still gets to keep its Primark and Argos Extra, but also has a new lease of life as a place to live and hang out.
Thanks to Bradford’s wonderful Grade II listed Midland Hotel for providing Umbrella with a base to pull this feature together. Book online at peelhotels.co.uk
David Craig is a Bradford resident and a director of Assembly Bradford, a co-working space to make things and meet people in the heart of BD1
Umbrella 16 available in print Order your copy here for just £6 Featuring 30 pages of spring menswear, plus features on brutalism in Benidorm, British Rail’s graphic identity, the world’s coolest taxis, Wetherspoon’s carpets, Karl Hyde from Underworld, disappearing Glasgow and how The North Face became cool.
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Heaven up here Forget the cliches, the beautiful skyscrapers of Benidorm show this Spanish resort is leading the pack in urban development
From the 40th floor of the Hotel Bali you could be in Hong Kong or Kuala Lumpur. Skyscrapers, glistening gold in the twilight, hug the city’s twin bays, their occupants switching on the lights as day turns to night. But we’re not in Hong Kong (or indeed any other megacity). Surprisingly we’re in Spain, specifically, the coastal resort of Benidorm. Yes, Benidorm. The town may be a byword for the sort of tourism that gets British middle-class people all superior and sniffy but we’re not here to sneer, but to admire one of the most beautiful, best planned towns in Europe. “Benidorm is what we call a ‘slow city’,” says Municipal Architect, Luis Camarasa, who’s overseen its development for 35 years. “We look to the future and see how can we have as little environmental impact as possible.” Camarasa, who operates from Benidorm’s new, and very stylish, town hall (which he designed), is faithfully carrying on the work of the man who invented modern Benidorm – and indeed the idea of the mass-market Mediterranean resort – Pedro Zaragoza Orts. Brought up in Benidorm when it was just a tunafishing village, Zaragoza – after stints working in a Madrid railway depot and a phosphate mine, where he rose to become a manager – worked in a local bank before being appointed mayor in 1950. He’d already organised the piping of water to the resort, when in 1952, he permitted the wearing of bikinis on the beach: a hugely controversial move. This caused the outraged local bishop to threaten him with excommunication for corrupting public morals. Only the intervention of Spanish leader General Franco – who Zaragoza rode to see on a scooter –
saved his soul. From then on, Benidorm became the resort of choice for north Europeans in search of sun, sea and various other pleasures beginning with ‘s’. Zaragoza, however, had more on his mind than swimwear: most significantly, the document that still informs the look of Benidorm today: the 1956 General Plan For Urban Organisation. “If you build low, you occupy all the space and have a long walk to the beach,” he said. “If you build high, you can face the sea, and leave room for gardens, pools and tennis courts.” The result was a town filled with skyscrapers, all precisely placed to allow sunshine and sea breezes into every barrio. The towers that go up today are thinner and taller than ever, from the Hotel Bali (the tallest hotel in Europe) to the graceful Torre Lugano, which at 158m, is the highest residential block on the continent. This enables a town of 70,000 to accommodate 200,000 visitors at a time, all of whom are in walking distance of the beach. In terms of hotel beds, only London and Paris have more. “People in Benidorm live in the streets,” says Camarasa. “We don’t have social segregation, everyone interacts with each other. Skyscrapers use less energy, less water and less electricity than regular housing: that’s why representatives from other cities comes here – to learn from what we’ve done.” As Benidorm’s bars open up for the evening and the street lighting illuminates its spacious boulevards, the words of Luis Camarasa ring true. “Vertical is the only solution,” he says. Looking down from the 40th floor it’d be hard to argue with that.
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Pictures Matt Reynolds
+ First page, top, The view from the 40th floor of Hotel Bali, Europeâ€™s tallest hotel
Words Anthony Teasdale
+ First page, bottom, The ultra-modern Hotel Brisa contrasts with residential apartments from the 1970s
Further information visitbenidorm.es
+ Third page, top, Intricate concrete detailing is everywhere in Benidorm + Third page, bottom, Residential apartment + Fourth page, top, The swimming pool of Hotel Bali viewed from the roof + Fourth page, bottom, Modernist flourishes + Fifth page, top, Considered planning regulations aim to maintain unobstructed sea views for Benidormâ€™s residents + Fifth page, bottom, Hotel Port Benidorm dwarves neighbouring apartment block + Sixth page, top, The Mediterranean sea viewed from Benidormâ€™s Old Town
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Pictures Peter Oâ€™ Toole Words Anthony Teasdale Matt Reynolds Elliott Lewis-George Naomi Kay Sean Mackin
All the fun of the fare From Amsterdam to Thailand, Umbrella takes a drive around the worldâ€™s most interesting taxis
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Tesla Model S, Amsterdam
Amsterdam has a reputation for being eco-friendly – just don’t mention the red light-jumping cyclists – but its taxis are high-polluters, expensive and often unwilling to take on low-paying journeys. Step forward Schiphol Airport. In 2014, it bought 167 Tesla Model S saloons, allowing three companies to use the cabs to ferry people into the city centre. At first there were some problems: a lack of speedy Superchargers meant these electric cabs often ran out of power or had to use older, slower models, but with efficient chargers multiplying, it’s less of a problem. Good job, too. By 2025, the city council is demanding all cabs are zero-emission. AT
Halfway between a cab and a bus, jeepneys are the camp-show offs of the taxi world: brightly coloured and often covered in garish decorations. When US troops quit the country after World War II, they left behind thousands of Jeeps, soon converted by locals into impromptu taxis. In 1953, the Sarao Motor Company began making ‘jeepneys’, later outnumbering all other brands by seven-to-one, though there are many other manufacturers today. Unlike a bus, jeepneys can pick up/ drop off wherever they like, which often causes increased congestion in the already jam-packed streets. But payment is simple: If the jeepney has a ‘conductor’ they’ll take it, otherwise the fare is passed by other passengers to the driver. AT
Minicab, Tokyo Japan. A land of contradictions – not least in the minicabs of its sprawling capital, Tokyo. The city’s squeakyclean taxis – identifiable by their distinctive roof-mounted company logos – are so futuristic that passenger doors open and shut automatically (just don’t touch them whatever you do, cabbies hate that) yet so traditional that their drivers refuse to use GPS to navigate. Their owners are also too polite to tell you if they don’t understand a word you’re saying, that their fares are eye-wateringly expensive, or worse, that they’re hopelessly lost – yet they’re also so confident of their impeccable service that tipping is considered an insult. Good luck! MR
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Beetle Type 1, Mexico City In 1970, Mexico City launched its cab service, choosing the VW Sedan (Beetle Type 1) as the standard taxi car. Originally painted yellow and white, in the early ’90s the colour was switched to green (as it was on buses) to project an eco-friendly image. In 2003, the VWs were gradually replaced by the likes of the Nissan Platina or Hyundai Atos. However, the Beetle refuses to go away, and they’re still a regular sight on the city roads. However, with the likelihood of being ripped off high among the street or libre cabs, the only thing that doesn’t change is that calling a cab is far safer than hailing one. AT
Boda Boda, Uganda and Kenya
Crown Comfort, Hong Kong
Unlicensed and unregulated, boda boda motorcycle taxis are an incredibly efficient way to get around the cities of east Africa. It’s simple: passengers hold their hands out until a boda-boda rider approaches you, beckoning you onto the back seat. After paying the tiny fare beforehand (usually around 20p) your boda-boda will make light work of clogged city streets and muddy country tracks, offering a traffic-busting alternative to the minibuses that run between major towns. A tip: the natural inclination of the new passenger is to grab on for dear life, but you’ll soon find that leaning with the bike makes for a far easier ride. Just be ready for the potholes! AT/SM
It may be one of the most futuristic cities on the planet, but HK has some refreshingly old-school taxis. Unexpectedly for Asia, the service is highly regulated, a relic of its former status as a British colony. The largest group are red ‘Urban’ taxis, which serve the New Territories, Kowloon and Hong Kong Island, as well as the airport. The New Territories also play host to green cabs, which are only allowed to pick up fares there. Leafy Lantau island, meanwhile, has its own blue cabs, though with only around 50 in existence, they’re a rare sight. While the Toyota Prius is making inroads, the most popular model is the Toyota Crown Comfort, built originally as a Japanese minicab. AT
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Padmini, Mumbai In Mumbai, most of the taxis are tiny Fiats (AKA Premier Padminis) in yellow and black, and they’re everywhere: just approach the driver and give him your destination. You might find the door is held open for you with a beaming smile and he’ll probably greet you with that enchanting wag of a head that only exists in India. The physical state of the car might be somewhat lacking, however. Ripped vinyl seats and a cramped backseat are the order of the day, while spitting is de rigeur for drivers, so expect your ride to be accompanied by endless coughing and spluttering out of the window. NK
Taxicab, Berlin Obviously, Berlin’s public transport system is absurdly efficient (though that doesn’t include the years-overdue construction of Berlin-Brandenburg airport). Like other German cities, its taxis are are mix of Mercedes-Benz models: interestingly, the world’s first dedicated taxi was invented by Merc’s cofounder Gottlieb Daimler in 1897, albeit in Stuttgart. The price for this extravagant form of transport is surprisingly reasonable, as Berlin’s taxi drivers have to offer a low fare of €4 for distances less than two kilometres. Reliable and luxurious, true comfort is slouching in the supple leather seats as an S-Class takes you back to your hotel safely, after a weekend stomping away in Berghain. ELG
Songthaew, Chiang Mai Forget the enclosed, private concept of the European taxi: In Chiang Mai, Thailand’s second city in the north, things are different. Here, the streets are packed with songthaews plying for trade. These big red trucks are open at the back with bench seating for passengers along either side (‘songthaews’ means ‘two rows’) covered in protective plastic like your nan’s sofa when you were a kid. Songthaews are flexible, too: you can grab one for you and your pals or hitch a lift with existing passengers if they’re going the same way, and all usually for the equivalent of a quid. It’s like Uber Pool but without the controversy. AH
Show your coffee table some love Three back issues for just £10 Want to complete your Umbrella collection? You can pick up any three back issues for only a tenner (or £4 each). Get yours at steeplepine.co.uk.
62 T he story behind Wetherspoons choice of carpets 66 T he Modern House: modernism gets its own estate agent
Stories Longer reads for broader minds
72 Underworld hold a special place in the hearts (and ears) of music fans of a certain age. Rising through the ’90s dance scene, they reached their ‘lager lager lager’ peak with Born Slippy. Now, singer Karl Hyde has written an autobiography, telling the story of a life dedicated, not just to music, but to artistic experimentation of every kind. We’ve taken the best bits for your enjoyment.
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World at his feet Things are looking up for Kit Caless ever since he started looking down. His blog dedicated to carpets of Wetherspoons pubs caught the eye of publishers, and now its best images are available in a collectable book. Umbrella’s Matt Reynolds caught up with him Beauty can exist in the most unlikely of places – and your local JD Wetherspoon is no exception. Turns out the famously-affordable pub chain pays particular attention to its floor coverings. Far from simply being camouflage for spilt drinks, each carpet is a carefully considered piece of design.
Some feature abstract patterns, others are inspired by the history of the building, its name or location – all are bespoke and unique to that particular pub. Writer Kit Caless travelled the country to record the diversity of these designs. We caught up with him to discuss his unusual obsession...
Pictures Kit Caless
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Words Matt Reynolds
Umbrella: Hi Kit. What inspired you to start photographing carpets? Kit Caless: In March 2015 I was heading back to London from Canterbury but I missed my train. There’s a Wetherspoons, The West Gate Inn, right near the station, so naturally I bought a pint and finished a book I was reading at the time, The Way Inn by Will Wiles. Its main character always stays at the same midrange hotel chain every time he goes away. One day, he notices all of the corporate art outside the lifts, when matched up, makes one big canvas which unlocks the nefarious secrets of the chain. After I finished the book I stared down at the carpet, for want of anything better to do. Then I thought, what
if all the carpets added up to make one big tapestry across the country? So I took a picture on my phone.
U: Then what happened? KC: A couple of days later I was in Baxter’s Court, a ’Spoons in London, and remembered that photo. Looking down at the carpet I noticed it was completely different to the one in The West Gate Inn. So I took a photo of it. And the hypothesis changed, what if all ‘Spoons carpets were different across the country? Over some time I gathered about 15 photos of different pub carpets, all different, all weird and all wonderful. I invited the public to send me a picture of their local carpet and it grew from there.
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The book is a selection of my favourite carpets and the towns in which they sit. Also, it inspired me to take proper photos rather than half-drunk mobile phone shots at 10pm on a Friday night!
U: Were you surprised at the response to your blog? KC: Yes and no. I was surprised how many people responded so quickly, but in reality, millions of people drink in Wetherspoons so there was plenty of scope for it to blow up. I think the surprising thing was how invested people got in the quest to find a replica carpet (i.e prove the hypothesis wrong). Some people visited as many as ten pubs in their area and would send photos whenever they were somewhere new.
U: So what was the weirdest carpet you found? KC: I couldn’t pick a weirdest, most of them are bonkers! But I think the strangest pub has to be the Admiral Collingwood in Ilfracombe – it has a huge dome in the middle, like the Reichstag in Berlin, and the carpet is a massive circle design to complement that. It’s breathtaking on the one hand, and on the other, you think, why on earth has so much effort been put into this? U: What was your favourite? KC: I have a few. The Queen’s Hotel in Maltby, for example. It’s in a former mining community and the carpet design there is inspired by the colliery. A mine
Pictures Kit Caless
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Words Matt Reynolds
Pictures Kit Caless Interview Matt Reynolds
shaft’s pit-head sits on top of a cross-section of layers beneath the earth’s surface. Horse heads represent the pit ponies that would’ve hauled coal from the face to the main road. What’s more, there’s groups of hexagons with circles inside linked by lines and squares as an illustration of the molecular structure of coal. Then there’s the Mossy Well in Muswell Hill, or the Bishop’s Mill in Durham… but I think currently my absolute favourite is the Rochester Castle in Stoke Newington – because this one was laid down in my honour! The book launch was at that pub and the old carpet was pretty tatty. Two days before the event they installed an entirely new floor tapestry – I’m not sure many writers can claim that!
U: Where are the carpets made? KC: Two places, Wilton’s in Salisbury and Ulster Carpets in... Ulster. I visited Wilton’s in Salisbury to take photos and find out a bit more. They’ve been weaving carpets there for over 400 years, including commissions from the House of Lords and other stately places. All the wool and the dyes are made in the UK, which is rare these days. They really take pride in the quality of their carpets, most weaving in the Axminster design, and they were very happy – though slightly bewildered as to why – I visited. Spoon’s Carpets – An Appreciation is out now, published by Square Peg, priced £8.99
Clean living The Modern House is a London estate agency specialising in modernist residential properties beloved of design-savvy buyers. Here, founding director Matt Gibberd, answers Anthony Teasdaleâ€™s questions on the movement that never gets old
Clean living The Modern House is a London estate agency specialising in modernist residential properties beloved of design-savvy buyers. Here, founding director Matt Gibberd answers Umbrellaâ€™s questions on the movement that just never get old
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Umbrella: Hi Matt. What prompted you to open the agency? MG: My friend and business partner Albert Hill had the idea while he was Design Editor at Wallpaper magazine. He’s very much an entrepreneur, and was looking for an opportunity to combine his interests in architecture and commerce. He identified estate agencies in America specialising in modern housing, and I agreed that something similar would work here. I was working at The World Of Interiors magazine, and we applied an editorial outlook to an aesthetically backward industry. U: What are your customers like? MG: We don’t discriminate by price or location, which means we sell to a huge range of people. A lot of our buyers work in fashion, art and architecture, but regardless of profession, they all want to be inspired by their living space. U: What period of property do you cover? MG: It’s less about period and more about quality. At the moment, we’re selling everything from an interior-designed Georgian house in London’s Clerkenwell to a Grade II-listed modernist house in the Suffolk countryside. We sell a huge number of loft apartments, factory conversions and flats on architecturally interesting housing estates. It’s about a modern way of living. We approach The Modern House as we would a magazine: taking on a new property if we feel it fits in aesthetically. U: What makes modernist housing so special? MG: It’s a hugely varied style that’s transcended the generations, but what makes it so special is the way in which space and light are maximised. Early modernism took advantage of the new structural possibilities of steel and concrete, eschewing small, cellular spaces in favour of open-plan living. U: What can house-builders today learn from modernist properties? MG: Modernist architecture is about embracing the landscape, sucking it in through expanses of glass, and about a ‘truth to materials’. House-builders need to learn from this honesty and generosity. Buyers want engaging spaces rather than mean little boxes, and simple interior detailing rather than gimmicks. U: Is it hard to find modernist properties outside of London? MG: When we started The Modern House in 2005, we were worried about the potential scarcity of modernist properties, but there’s a surprisingly high number. The exciting thing about what we do is that you never know what will be found lurking behind a high hedge, and the Home Counties have a particularly rich concentration of it. U: Are modernist houses more popular than they were? MG: The appetite for modernism in general has increased exponentially over the past decade. We need the benefit of historical perspective to identify the best examples of each architectural era, and it’s now almost 90 years since modernism first sprung up in Britain, and more than half a century since the Case Study Programme in America [an experimental architecture programme that ran from 1945-1966]. The Modern House is out now, priced £25
Pictures The Modern House Interview Anthony Teasdale
+ Above, Three-deck modernism works well with a sizeable garden + Above, Anglepoise lamp with mid-century earthenware + Left, Eames rocking chair in sleek home
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+ Right, More recent architecture contrasts with old pebble dash + Below, The cover of The Modern House book: note Arne Jacobsen â€˜Eggâ€™ chair + Below, The Barbican estate, London
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KH y dae
Meeting Rick, finding Bowie Rick [Smith, Karl’s partner in Underworld] was a gifted engineer and a natural producer, continually searching, exploring, questioning and surprising everyone with what he could get out of the modest equipment we had – I was lucky to be a part of his band. We evolved a sound out of machine beats and dub-inspired delays – a cultural fusion of the two forms of music we loved most. It quickly started to sound good – really good – and different to anything else. During evenings after we’d recorded, we’d sit in the front room and listen to dub, Kraftwerk and Bowie’s Low. More than anything of its era, Low transmitted seismic shockwaves. I felt like I was directly in their path. Low had a sound unlike anything I’d expected from the iconic front-man, the sheer ego-shedding balls he demonstrated with that one album still sets him apart from all other frontmen before or after – what a genius move! He stood back and let the molecules of electric Germany speak for him; Ziggy Stardust and the Thin White Duke were binned. When other frontmen would have clung to either for their entire careers, Bowie flushed them out, dispensed with their encumbrance, and let the soundscapes dance, unfettered by the crippling need to reduce them to yet another ‘backing track’ for another frontman. It went deep into the bone, stashed for later, ready to be recalled once dance music had rendered frontmen surplus to requirement yet I still craved to sing – that’s when I’d follow precisely the direction of David Bowie’s example, and put the groove in front of the voice, step back and let the music speak. Revel in taking the supporting role, make the voice subservient to the sound, and stop ‘needing’ to dominate it. Yeah, Bowie’s Low inspired us – it reached far into the future and waited there for me to catch up.
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From Born Slippy to Second Toughest In The Infants, no group has done more for dance music’s acceptance than Underworld. In these excerpts from his autobiography, I Am Dogboy, vocalist Karl Hyde pinpoints the key moments in his musical development
Goodbye, guitars There were bands in the charts who were hijacking club beats, stitching them to pop songs before slapping some old-shit guitar over the top. Hearing that kind of music turned my stomach. Why would anyone want to steal a beat to fake being contemporary and then smear it all over with that rock-guitar noodling? That just made me embarrassed to be a guitarist. I thought, “If that’s what guitar playing does to this incredible scene then I’ve got to do the scene a favour and stop playing guitar immediately.” The way guitar was being played on these clubbed-up pop tunes was just aimless noise to me. I decided to sell all my guitars. Fortunately, I worked with two people who had a different way of looking at the problem. Darren was into the Balearic sound, loved a guitar, and was a lifelong Beatles fan. He used to say, “Play some of that funky stuff. I like it when you do that.” Rick was always thinking ahead, finding new ways to subvert cherished sounds from the past – ever the one to find solutions to impossible problems. I was the only one who thought the guitars had to go, but the two of them outvoted me... thankfully.
Skyscraper Steve Hall from Junior Boy’s Own overheard Mmm, Skyscraper... I Love You in an office while someone else was rejecting it and offered to put it out. While most people we played it to looked at us with total confusion, Steve got it (thankfully he still does). Under the wing of an understanding label who’d grown up in the scene we were making fledgling steps into, our music was starting to get played in clubs – tracks we’d made and early remixes we’d done for other bands. Darren played places like the Milk Bar on Sutton Row (RIP) a lot – it was a good room to road-test new music or to suck up a little inspiration (it was there that Rick heard Darren mix together two copies of a Red Zone remix of a record by Thompson Twins that inspired the drum fills in Skyscraper). I’m guessing that early on I’d have heard The Hump in a club, and people would have danced and, although it wouldn’t have been the greatest track played that night, it would have kept people on the floor. A record that Rick had made in his bedroom in Essex was getting people up and moving on crowded floors in fashionable spots in the West End. One hugely significant moment early on – one point where we realised things were working, the path we were on was straight and true – arrived as a complete shock to me. We’d headed down to the Soundshaft (RIP too) to hear Sven Väth DJing. Midway through a set that was peaks and peaks and peaks, he played what we all considered the album version of ‘Skyscraper’. This was after Rick and Darren had painstakingly constructed club mixes that were specifically designed to work on dancefloors. The album version was bold and extreme and had been built with some other space in mind – not here, not yet anyway. In my head, I saw several years of transition, where people would buy our records on 12-inch, then maybe one day, they’d flip the vinyl and put the album version on. Some of them would then hopefully go on to explore further. Sven turned all of that on its head. The record began, the floor filled – properly filled. I turned to Rick and mouthed, “Wow. I didn’t expect that.” In my head, this was time folding. The years I was projecting that it would take until people discovered what we were doing away from the dancefloor had happened overnight – from that turntable, with Sven dropping that 12. From then on, whatever came out of Rick’s studio was for the dancefloor.
Darren and techno Rick had returned to Romford to salvage what he could from our recording studio while taking on the miserable responsibility of paying off our debts by selling surplus equipment. We had no label, no press department and no way of getting our music out via the conventional routes, but these were unconventional times. Acid house, vast illegal raves and records made in bedrooms were offering an exciting and viable alternative to the traditional music industry. Wanting to make music with a DJ, Rick asked his brother-in-law Martin for advice on who he should approach. Of the two suggested, it was the 19-year-old Darren Emerson who was invited into the studio. Darren was local, he pretty much lived in the same street. He brought with him first-hand experience of DJ culture, and a youthful attitude. He had no qualms about calling Underworld’s previous incarnation “shit”. Rick and Darren quickly moved on without me. They were writing and recording; searching for a sound and starting to find it. I was on the outside looking in – my choice not theirs. I’d been away, on and on and on again, for a long time. There was no reason for them to wait for me. I found Darren intimidating. He had all the confidence of a frontman. As far as I saw it, he could easily make me redundant. When Darren played me 12s from his set, barely any of them featured many words or vocals – especially by men. Fingers Inc. were played a lot as reference. I just didn’t get it: too stripped, too sparse, but the voice on the records caught my ear – Robert Owens, whose lyrics were way out of my league. His was a planet I’d never been to. Weirdly, I would soon visit in person when I got invited by him to play guitar on a new track. I watched the way he worked, laid out on a couch at the back of the control room, listening. then, at the moment only he knew was right, he would spring to life announcing, “OK, I’m ready. Set up a mic!” He’d lay the vocal down in one. Another penny dropped for me when I witnessed Robert in action. My old toolbox had been emptied. Now it was being replenished, filled with new toys in readiness for whatever it was this new direction of Rick’s demanded.
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A life in rhythm My dad was a drummer in the Boys’ Brigade. He reminded us every mealtime, beating polyrhythms on the table with his hands. Should’ve been a drummer, could’ve been a poet, looked after his family like a bare-knuckle saint doing jobs beneath his intellect (and knew it), never let on or looked down on anyone. But he couldn’t contain his love of groove. It would burst out of him and make us smile, paradiddling on the table top until Mom would snap, “Oh, Graham, will you please stop it! That’s enough! I’ve got a headache.” The music would stop. Awkward looks. Empty raging silences sucking light out of the room. At pudding time he’d grin, index fingers extended improvising drumsticks as he resumed his groove. To this day, I can tap out every one of those rhythms, they come out when I’m bored or stressed. They take me back to Dad making me feel good, drumming on the kitchen table, eyes sparkling, glancing across at me and winking. I Am Dogboy is published by Faber & Faber, £28
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78 The clothes that made The North Face
84 Our favourite thing 86 Outfits 94 Rivet & Hide 96 Farer watches
The North’s ace One of the great brands of our time, The North Face is worn from Liverpool to Lisbon (well, in winter). We talk through the pieces that have defined it.
96 Story of the blues Buying jeans – buying quality jeans at least – should be pleasurable. At London’s Rivet & Hide that’s certainly the case, with onthe-spot repairs all part of the service. We take a trip to Soho to find out what else makes them special.
British watchmaking is undergoing a renaissance. Joining the likes of Christopher Ward and Bremont is Farer, a London brand that produces deftly designed timepieces. But looks aren’t the whole story: the watches are powered by mechanical movements and carry ambitious complications, too. You’ll like them.
Pictures Josh Parkin, The North Face Words Matt Reynolds Further Reading thenorthface.com
TRUE Everybody loves The North Face. From city-dwelling Supreme fanboys to people who actually climb proper mountains (via the Wu-Tang Clan, UK grime crews, and your next-door neighbour taking the dog for a walk) its take on technical outdoors-wear is a global success story. So, how did we get here? Umbrella caught up with vice president of product design Darren Cookson to help us navigate the key moments in the brandâ€™s evolution. NORTH
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1966 On the night of October 26, Doug Tompkins and his girlfriend Susie Russell threw a party to celebrate the opening of their outdoors gear store in San Francisco. Music was provided by local rockers The Grateful Dead.
1975 Inspiration for new products was found everywhere – the aerodynamic design of the Oval InTENTion tent was supposedly inspired by inventor R. Buckminster Fuller’s theory of sphericity. Sounds complicated.
1984 Channeling the same spirit that had seen it book the ’Dead for its launch party the brand continued to align itself with countercultural icons by sponsoring sports stars from outside of the mainstream – most notably extreme skier Scot Schmidt.
1985 By now TNF-clad hard nuts were a permanent fixture on the world’s toughest peaks. The unmistakable combination of cutting edge technology with striking designs had made the brand an outdoors-wear legend – and one that was starting to be noticed by customers who’d never set eyes on the Everest base camp.
1969 The year after, Kenneth ‘Hap’ Klopp (a friend of Tompkins) bought the company came the release of the Ruthack – a revolutionary lightweight internal-frame backpack, and the first of its many technical innovations.
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1990 The Rage collection, the first functional GORE-TEX® outerwear specifically designed for snowboarders, was worn by ice-cool TNF riders Jim Zellers, Tom Burt and Bonnie Leary – sending their rivals into fits of jealous rage. Hence the name (um, maybe).
1865 A word on the logo. The design is an interpretation of Yosemite National Park’s Half Dome, a rock formation rising 8,800 feet above sea level. In 1865 it was declared to be unconquerable. Climber George Anderson reached the summit just ten years later.
1988 Named after the highest peak in the USA, the iconic Denali coat was a simple zip-in fleece layer compatible with mountain jackets. Its popularity with climbers and non-climbers alike continues to this day.
“The brand collaborated on a range of clothing and accessories with tech upstarts, Apple”
1986 Once again associating itself with outliers, the brand collaborated on a range of clothing and accessories with rebellious tech upstarts, Apple.
According to vice president of product design, Darren Cookson, the indestructible Basecamp Duffel was made to “survive the world’s roughest airport baggage handlers, and be carried by porters, yaks and camels to every region on Earth”. Tough stuff.
1993 Two members of the Wu-Tang Clan wearing Steep Tech jackets in their Method Man video was a key moment for The North Face. The crossover from wellrespected sportswear brand to street fashion powerhouse was legitimised by the New York rap iconoclasts, introducing a new – and vastly bigger – audience.
2004 By now the half dome logo was everywhere, from city skateparks to provincial pubs to the side of the awardwinning Ultra GTX XCR trail-running shoes. Global domination was imminent.
1993 Capitalising on its new-found street cred, the iconic ‘puffa’-style Nuptse jacket was released, which, according to the brand, “found its way into the urban explorer’s wardrobe, extending its journey from the mountain into the concrete playground”.
1991 Developed by Scot Schmidt, the first-ever athleteinspired ski clothing line, Steep Tech, was “designed for those who live, work and climb in the mountains... the ultimate apparel for spending long days in search of steep terrain”. The jackets looked pretty tasty, too.
1994 As a reminder that it hadn’t forgotten about making proper boundary-pushing mountain gear, the brand released the Himalayan Suit, essentially a downfilled onesie – that made conquering peaks like Kangchenjunga as straightforward as nipping to the shops for a pint of milk.
2006 The first of their ‘high fashion’ tie-ins was a collaboration with Comme des Garçons designer Junya Watanabe. His obsession with fabrics and considered details making him a perfect match for the brand.
2007 While many of Supreme’s subsequent collaborations play up to the outrageousness of its pairings (Aquascutum, Louis Vuitton, etc) since 2007 its regular hook-ups with The North Face have made perfect sense. Both brands thrive on their playful ‘outsider’ status, manifesting itself most memorably on the AW15 Nuptse ‘By Any Means Necessary’ jacket.
2013 After two extensive research expeditions to Everest, ThermoBall technology was launched. Described as a “new type of synthetic insulation that closely mimics down clusters” it stays warm even when wet. Handy for the commute, then.
2012 The ABS Pack was developed to help save athletes caught in avalanches. Looking like something out of Buck Rogers, the cleverly designed inflatable dual airbag system allowed the wearer to float to the safety of the surface.
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2016 Fifty years on, The North Face had grown into a truly global brand, its success underpinned by a relentless quest for innovations – such as the recently-launched ‘abrasion-phobic’ APEX Flex soft shell fabric.
Several diffusion lines were launched featuring more tailored fits and limited-edition colourways. Europe got the Black and Red label lines, while Japanese customers were treated to the ultra-desirable Purple label – headed up by Nanamica’s Eiichiro Homma. Lucky them.
Various subcultures have been associated with TNF gear. Apparently both Celtic FC’s ‘firm’ and the Merseyside ‘Johnheads’ have a fondness for all-black jackets, as do UK grime crews – and (of course) their biggest fan, Drake.
Merseyside ‘Johnheads’ have a fondness for all-black jackets”
Never stop exploring When Doug Tompkins booked The Grateful Dead to play the store opening in 1966 he said that it was a “poke in the eye to the mainstream”. Over half a century later the brand has become the mainstream, but the rebel attitude still prevails. It’s an approach that has won them the respect of fans around the world – and that’s harder than climbing any mountain.
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our favourite thing
Holubar Short hunter jacket ÂŁ430, holubar.it Perfect for chilly spring evenings (or for UK readers, an average May day) this parka not only looks the biz but boasts a cotton/ polyacryl outer shell to keep out the rain. The short length gives the garment a casual feel, while the tailored silhouette is typically Italian. Resistance is futile.
+ The inside is made of polyester with a natural down/feather interior to keep out the cold. All fabrics courtesy of Italian brand, Limonta
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+ The back zipper pocket was introduced by Holubar as a way to store a sweater. We say you can put anything in it
+ The front of the jacket has three snap-closure pockets, enough for your mobile phone, keys or maps of the Italian Alps
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Upmarket tea-leaf With the market for blag DVDs on the floor, this light-fingered gent has been forced to up his game. Instead of selling Chinese copies of Rocky VIII in the pub, he now knocks out designer wares in London’s fanciest bars. Of course, he still keeps a few ‘art’ DVDs in the bag: some OAPs aren’t up to date with this internet lark yet.
Albam Gunney smock, £159, albamclothing.com Maple cap, £55, endclothing.com Stone Island Pink Logo T-shirt, £100, stoneisland.com Stone Island dry bag, £175, stoneisland.com Folk off-black trousers, £115, folkclothing.com Clarks ochre Wallabee, £90, clarks.com
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Half-hearted explorer Every weekend, this outdoorsy fella gets set for a journey into the unknown: will he head to the Lake District for a go at Helvellyn? What about Snowdon? Or perhaps he’ll do something a little more familiar: namely buying bits of ’90s club ephemera and drinking pale ale in gastropubs.
Penfield Colfax jacket, £125, penfield.com Penfield Brook Pond sweat, £75, penfield.com C6 tote, £130, c6life.com Albam white jeans, £115, albamclothing.com Christopher Ward C5 Malvern Automatic, £495, christopherward.co.uk
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New Labour vigilante Ever since his hero ‘TB’ lost the PM job in 2007, this chap’s been out of step with UK political opinion. While his sweatshirt carries lyrics by The Specials, he shows his rebellion by filling his bag with eggs, which he launches at passing Momentum members and anyone who “looks a bit Brexit”. A large group that sadly includes his mum and dad.
Stone Island Marina Tank Shield Jacket, £650, stoneisland.com Rude Than You Sweatshirt, £45, toohotlimited.com Battenwear x Oi Polloi packable tote, £40, Battenwear.com Norse Projects featherweight khakis, £135, norseprojects.com Vans veggie tan-leather pumps, £52, vans.co.uk
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Pictures Adrian Callaghan Location Studio Collective Styling Umbrella Additional Styling Rachel Reynolds
Housing estate preppy While the rest of his mates hung around the offy in search of Special Brew and Lambert & Butler, our man decided to dedicate himself to the Ivy League lifestyle. Ever since, he’s dreamed of a life of loafing at Harvard or Yale, and with a GCSE in woodwork in the bag, a generous scholarship can’t be far away.
Uniqlo blazer, £30, Uniqlo shirt, £19.90, Uniqlo merino crew-neck, £29.90, all uniqlo.com Ace&Tate metal green shades, £89, aceandtate.co.uk Loake Perth shoes, £230, loake.co.uk, Christopher Ward C3 Malvern Chrono, £350, christopherward.co.uk ‘Batchel’, £165, cambridgesatchel.com
+ The store is a treasure trove for lovers of Japanese and American denim brands
Pictures Rivet & Hide
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Words Matt Reynolds Further information rivetandhide.com
Blue heaven Incredible jeans made on original looms, fantastic service and alterations while you have a quick pint: London’s Rivet & Hide is a denim shop well worth turning up to Denim is a serious business. A good pair of jeans are essential in anyone’s wardrobe, but choosing the right pair can be tricky – and judging by some of the bootcut/multi-pocketed/artificially-distressed disasters we’ve seen over the years it’s clearly something not everyone gets right. Step forward Rivet & Hide, a store that, in the words of owner Danny Hodgson, “brings the best raw selvedge denim brands from Japan, the USA and UK under one roof” (as well as sourcing classic casual menswear of quality). We caught up with Danny at the London store to discuss the finer points of jeans etiquette.
U: What’s so special about selvedge denim? DH: Selvedge – the edge produced on a narrow loom that stops fabric unravelling – does not make denim special in itself, it’s more to do with the level of skill in the production. For example, high-street brands riding the wave of interest in selvedge are using modern looms, which don’t make interesting fabrics. The old shuttle looms our brands use take great skill to operate and are capable of making denim with an amazing texture. Combine that with having the skill to dye those fabrics with indigo and you have unbeatable denim that’ll mould to your body and age beautifully with wear.
Umbrella: Hi Danny. What inspired you to set up Rivet & Hide? Danny Hodgson: On trips to Japan and USA I discovered some great denim brands that weren’t represented in the UK. I wanted to start my own business and when I saw this gap I realised my time had come.
U: Finally, should you ever wash your jeans? DH: You don’t need to wash them too regularly, but yes, otherwise they’ll smell and fall apart!
U: Who’s the typical Rivet & Hide customer? DH: Some have an almost neurotic obsession with selvedge, patina, fades and construction details, but all have a desire to buy finely crafted classic clothes built to last and age with distinction. U: You sell a carefully curated selection of items. How do you decide what makes the cut? We travel regularly to meet our brands in Japan and the USA, and work closely with them in their fabric development. We’ve done a range of collaborations and we never buy from a catalogue – we go and see the real deal. You just have to do it with this level of clothing.
“Some have an almost neurotic obsession with selvedge, patina, fades and construction details”
96 Umbrella Style
Pictures Farer Words Anthony Teasdale Further information farer.com
Farer ’nuff Minimal dials and mechanical movements are the order of the day for watch brand Farer There’s something interesting going on in the UK watch scene at the moment. Away from the humourless watch snobs – of which there’s plenty – style-savvy chaps are paying more attention to what goes on their wrists. And Farer is perfectly placed to tempt them into a quality timepiece. Designed in Britain, but made in Switzerland, Farer offers a range of watches that mix minimalist looks with the type of attention-to-detail usually found on more expensive models. And for fans of horology, it’s now moving into mechanical calibres. “It was always our aim to make affordable automatics,” says the brand. “Once you’ve had a mechanical watch you can never be without one.” Details are important, too. “We use 12-times over-printing, exacting colours, vintage curved dials, and combine them with interesting, unique finishes.” With three ‘GMT’ – ie a watch that can tell the time in two timezones – launches this spring, and a trio of ‘supercompressor’ diving watches to come in October, Farer is a brand whose time has arrived.
+ Modern styling combined with new manufacturing techniques make Farer watches special
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Style Umbrella 97
98 Umbrella Last word
Pictures Lee Gale
Obsessions: Streetlamps Lee Gale mourns the disappearance of an historic piece of British street furniture
ow do you end up with an interest in concrete lampposts? By the time I was four, I knew the names of most cars and still have a poster that I drew in 1975 cataloguing street signs. Lampposts – or to use the proper term, lighting columns – were the frame to the road’s artwork. It quickly became apparent that lighting columns were not a single, standard design so I knew they must also have names. Dad, who’d been so helpful in pointing out Escorts, Vivas and Marinas, could offer no assistance. All the information I could find was the company title at the base of columns. Stanton and CU (Concrete Utilities) were prominent. During the ’90s, I watched as concrete columns were replaced by aluminium hockey sticks devoid of character. With no national repository for street furniture, I was witnessing the wholesale disappearance of an important part of British industrial design. It was during this time I learned the names of lighting columns using the illuminating simoncornwell.com/ lighting, a site which started in 1997. As my interest brightened, I started taking my camera with me wherever I went and would come across installations that had been granted, for whatever reason – usually a lack of municipal money – a stay of execution. My favourite lighting column is the faux-Phoenician
Stanton 6B, manufactured at the Stanton Ironworks in Derbyshire from 1930-’50. Having seen photographs of my Doncaster childhood, I discovered that the 25ft-tall 6B, holding aloft its golden-casket sodium luminaire, was my local council’s choice for major highways. From the tens of thousands that were made, around a dozen are left in Britain. Derbyshire remains a treasure trove, though, with 14,000 concrete columns within its boundaries, although these are largely later-model designs from the dreary ’70s. It was while travelling to Crich Tramway Village with the kids recently that I spotted the silhouette of not one, but two, 6Bs that I’d never seen before! I eventually located them in the car park of the 17th-century Peacock Inn in Oakerthorpe. I asked a barman about the 6Bs but information was sparse. Afterwards, I called the council and discovered they were on a narrow strip of disputed territory. The council thought the land was the property of the pub; the pub believed it belonged to the council. For this reason, the 6Bs remained, albeit unwanted and unloved… well, by most. I’ve just Googled the pub and seen that it’s closed due to structural problems. If you’re a Derbyshire museum, get down there sharpish: you might be able to save a vital part of your industrial heritage. Lee is the editor of British Ideas Corporation
Issue 17, Summer ’17 “The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity” – Amelia Earhart
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