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ÂŁFree Issue Two Autumn 2010 www.umbrellamagazine.co.uk
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Umbrella Manifesto he city is the inspiration for most – if not everything – that goes in Umbrella. It’s not any one town in particular, but the possibilities that all urban environments give residents and visitors alike. Whether it’s a little locals’ cafe down a winding street in Prague or an anarchist-owned restaurant on Cadiz’s Plaza Menditero, joy is to be found in the secluded and the outof-the-way. In that respect, Umbrella is much like a city. Sure, there’s plenty of stuff to get you in (we’re especially proud of our covers), but it’s when you start exploring that you get most from this magazine. From the way we shoot fashion (giving the clothes space to show off those all-important details that men love) to our appreciation of maps, transport and quality food, we think there’s easily enough to satisfy the most inquisitive of travellers. And you don’t even need your passport to look around. Thanks for visiting. Anthony Teasdale and Matt Reynolds, London, November 2010
Issue two Contents 9 Editions
10 Master minds Penguin’s Great Ideas series 12 News Sixteen years of G-Stone records, boomboxes of the ’80s, Great Migrations, Canelleto and Venice, Rome’s new art spaces 16 Mmm, very Moorish The beauty of Granada’s Alhambra palace 18 How technology killed rock ’n’ roll and gave birth to the ‘experience society’ by Anthony Teasdale 19 Men and identity by Jim Butler 20 How to cook… the perfect pie 22 Q&A: Empires of Food 24 The simple pleasures of… rotisserie chicken 25 Hot in the city Autumn’s best cocktails 26 Our favourite things The Adidas World Cup football boot
29 Field trip
30 Tall stories London’s new skyline 35 Somewhere for the weekend A luxurious couple of days in Basel 36 Tunnels of love Liverpool’s Merseyrail 38 City Report: Barcelona 34 Britain: still in first gear The sorry state of the UK’s cycle infrastructure 42 Cycling Tokyo Bikes 44 The island at the centre of the world New York, a photographic history
48 There goes the neighbourhood How Manhattan’s Hell’s Kitchen went up in the world – and down in our estimations 52 Button-down in a bombed-out town Belfast mods of the 1980s 54 Fiction Night Flight – death in the sky
58 Umbrella loves Belstaff jacket 60 Q&A Ian Paley, head of Garbstore 62 Dark denim 64 Autumn coat special 70 Footwear 74 Vintage
76 Obsessions Analogue synths 78 Coming next issue
20 Pies www.umbrellamagazine.co.uk
Issue two’s contributors From mods defying sectarianism in 1980s Belfast or the future of London’s skyline, this issue’s writers have got all the topics covered
Born in Belfast but now residing between Macclesfield and London, Mark is the author of this issue’s article on the enduring appeal of mod culture in his home town. When he’s not avidly following Liverpool FC or trying to find a cure for baldness, he can generally be found at his desk hunting out a story, a celebrity interview or pictures of dogs dressing up like people.
The author of Redmen, John is based in Chester and writes on architecture, travel, football and food. His idea of perfection would be the tasting menu at El Bulli, shortly followed by watching his beloved Liverpool walloping Barcelona in the grandeur of the Camp Nou. This issue, he turns his focus away from Liverpool to its big twin across the pond – New York City.
Relatively fresh-faced, at least in the world of journalism, John lived, worked and loved in Scotland before heading to the District of Columbia for a summer to work as a video journalist at the Washington Post. Now back safely in London, he’s often jumping between picking up a camera or picking up a keyboard for AOL and their many content channels. This issue, he writes on the state of cycling in the UK.
Justin Clack, writer of our piece on London most exciting new building developments is Umbrella’s architecture correspondent. The owner and director of property consultants, Frost Meadowcroft, he works from the former Island Records studios at St Peter’s Square in Hammersmith, west London. Despite the prized location, he’s still, er, waiting in vain for Peter Tosh to visit for a cup of tea.
Jim Butler’s dreams of rock’n’roll glory were dashed when his band Snowball split up in the mid-’90s. Since then, he’s interviewed everyone from Girls Aloud to Lionel Richie failed miserably at chatting up Sophie Ellis Bextor. His proudest moment, however, remains Eric Cantona calling him “mate”. Oh, and the birth of his son Stanley. Read his take on male identity on page 19.
Brett Foraker is an award-winning writer and director who was for many years Creative Director of Channel 4 in the UK. The author of this month’s creepy short story, he splits his time between London and Los Angeles where he’s currently working on his first feature. Some of his commercial and photographic work is available to view at www.rsafilms.com.
Umbrella is published by Wool Media Ltd, © 2010 Editor Anthony Teasdale (email@example.com) Creative Director Matt Reynolds (firstname.lastname@example.org) Web Mitch Crease (email@example.com) Advertising Manager Jon Clements (firstname.lastname@example.org) Fashion Editor Natalie Cornish (email@example.com) Other contributors Terry Daley, Dan Brightmore
Contact us firstname.lastname@example.org
Editions Photography, ideas, technology, food, amusement
10: Good thinking with Penguin’s Great Ideas 20: Making the perfect pie 26: Adidas World Cup: a football boot for all times
Solace Is the Alhambra in Granada Europe’s most beautiful palace? We can’t be sure, but this Spanish treasure is the perhaps the greatest example of the Moorish architecture that dots the Iberian peninsula. A relic of a time when Spain was the intellectual heart of the Muslim empire, you can drink in its beauty on page 16.
Philosophy has never looked so good good idea costs nothing. Well, in the case of Penguin’s Great Ideas series, each one will set you back £4.99, but as an intellectual investment, these beautifully presented works of philosophy should put you well into the black. Over the last five years, Penguin has published 100 works of philosophy, stretching back in time from the Roman stoicism of Seneca and Marcus Aurelius to the revolutionary works of Niccolo Machiavelli, Karl Marx and Thomas Paine (the latter’s Common Sense helped spark the American War of Independence). The ideas in these slimline books have changed history for good – sparking debate, instigating wars and providing solace with nothing more than the written word. As Penguin says of these essays: “They have transformed the way we see ourselves – and each other. They have inspired debate, dissent, war and revolution. They have enlightened, outraged, provoked and comforted. They have enriched lives – and also destroyed them.” This is reason alone to publish these collected works, but what makes this series so special is the way in which each volume is presented. Every single cover is exquisitely designed, often taking quotes from the author’s text and fashioning into something that is resonant of the period in which it was written. Nowhere else has the fusion between art, design and literature been better executed. Even if you have no interest in what’s written inside, you can’t fail to be inspired by the sheer thoughtfulness that has gone into the cover art. Design works best, not for its own sake, but to encourage individuals to engage with an idea or an object. On the cover of these 100 books it does exactly that. Which one is your favourite? www.penguin.co.uk
Details Waldo Emerson was a key figure in the Transcendental movement that took hold in the USA in the 1830s. Nature, seen as his key work, is an American view on the natural world untainted by European experience. In Emerson’s Eastern-influenced opinion, nature is a paradise without a supreme ruler.
Covered: Philosophy, design
Details Leon Trotsky (born Lev Davidovich Bronstein, 1879) was one of the leaders of the Russian Revolution. Involved in politics from the late 1890s, he started producing anti-capitalist leaflets in 1897. This book is a collection of essays he wrote from the time of revolution up to his murder by Stalinâ€™s agents in 1940.
News & information A selection of the things that make the season worth living U-feed What Umbrella likes this issue… Find out about the gruesome state of the Royal Navy’s medical treatments in times past with the Surgeons at Sea project – medical journals from 1793-1880… Is there a better blog about the Big Apple than Scouting New York? We doubt it. Based on one man’s work looking for film locations, it details parts of the city (abandoned subways, old post offices, ballrooms etc) that even the most eagle-eyed local would miss. An absolute gem of a site… Like the look of Taschen’s new Masterpieces in Detail books, which tell you the tricks and techniques that helped make the world’s greatest paintings… Wonder what astronomers made of asteroids and metors in the 18th Century? Us neither, but it we really like this report from the Royal Society in 1783… Want to see ludicrous ’80s ghetto blasters getting lots of love? Just check out The Boombox Project: The Machines, The Music, and The Urban Underground, a photographic book that acts as an homage to this most hip of music players. Good interview with the author Lyle Owerko in the New York Times too… Moving stories
The world’s great migrations up close In the animal kingdom, migration is a key aspect of survival. In the book to accompany the National Geographic TV programme Great Migrations, former Nat Geo magazine editor Karen Kostya studies these annual movements, describing how they’re formed and perhaps, more interestingly, what drives animals to move from one place to another, whether they’re wildebeests travelling across the Serengeti or Pacific walruses swimming through the icy Bering Straits. She says, “What internal and external forces drive animals to make these risky yet deliberate journeys, crossing hundreds, sometimes thousands of
miles? What tells them when to move, and what guides them to their destinations? What propels them to face predators and natural forces that are sure to cost the lives of many of them, particularly their young?” The pictures that accompany her text are mindblowing in their detail and dramatism. Here is life and death in its rawest state, where the good of the group trumps the survival of the individual. From army ants to zebras, enormous whale sharks to colourful monarch butterflies, this is natural history at its most inspirational. Wildly and weirdly wonderful. Great Migrations is out now, published by National Geographic books, priced £19.99
Covered: Migrations, G-Stone, Vienna
Nothing but a G thing Viennese label G-Stone celebrates 16 years of head-nodding hipness with a peerless compilation
Ever since the dreaded words ‘trip-hop’ were coined in Mixmag in 1994 to describe the slew of instrumental, dub- and jazzinfluenced records that were being made by the likes of DJ Shadow, Sabres of Paradise and La Funk Mob, there’s been a market for dance music that’s made for anything but dancing. Vienna’s G-Stone, like James Lavelle’s Mo Wax imprint, was there at the dawn of this movement and this year celebrates 16 years of horizontal grooving with a compilation of the label’s best tunes. Umbrella talks to G-Stone head Richard Dorfmeister about blunted beats, the move from recorded music to live shows and how he and his recording partner Peter Kruder’s K&D Sessions conquered the known world. Umbrella: Sixteen years. That’s a long time… Richard Dorfmeister: It is, especially in the music business. I think our best achievement is still being to be able to tell what good music is – the quality selection factor is one of most important things. I think due to the constant DJing and producing we’ve kept our ears open to all kinds of genres and styles – and for me it doesn’t matter what label a piece of music has – as long as it’s good, I love it. You really have to work through a whole lot of useless sounds before you discover something worthwhile. It used to be the vinyl – now it’s the net, but the selection filter is what it’s all about. U: How has the scene changed in that time? RD: The scene changes with the people and the music styles, but what’s really changed the game is the MP3 download thing, especially for small labels that are dependant on sales of the physical product. The last years have been extremely hard and lots are just doing it for the fun of it. Besides that, the live performance idea became much more important – and the ticket prices for live shows are now higher than ever. U: What was it like hearing The K&D Sessions in every clothes shop in the western world? RD: It wasn’t – and isn’t – just clothes stores. It’s hotel lobbies, hairdresser’s, waiting lines, fashion shows – just all kind of public places. Of course, as soon as your music becomes too popular you receive a good portion of envy, but that didn’t bother us too much because we still believe in the inner quality of the sounds. But you’re right, at some point it became completely over the top the way our music got played. U: Have you achieved all you wanted to do? RD: I had to learn that I have to start very often from the beginning. There are still so many things to be
learned and to be improved – I think the biggest problem is time. I would need much more time and energy to make all the projects happen that I have in mind, so being aware of the time limitations, I have to concentrate on the important projects. U: What’s Vienna like as a musical city? RD: The whole underground scene here has been very much influenced by dub reggae, ’70s funk and jazz mixed with an affinity for cosmic sounds and dance music – all in combination with the long classical tradition that exists in Vienna. It can’t be compared to the real melting pots like New York or London, but it has that eastern bloc charm that sometimes can be very cynical but always somehow slow and inexact. U: What are the best places to eat, drink and sleep in Vienna?
RD: There some classics like the fish places in the inner city market, the Naschmarkt (mainly run by Turkish people), the famous coffee places (Cafe Prückel) and of course, classical Viennese food (Plachutta and others). Look out for a restaurant called Skopik&Lohn in the second district; cool people, good food and unpretentious at the same time. Actually, it’s hard not to have good food in this city, and at reasonable prices too. Vienna really is still a great place to live.
Sixteen F**king Years is out now on G-Stone recordings. www.g-stoned.com
News & information
Oil and water See Venice at its beautiful best in a startling new art exhibition
There are few places that demonstrate better the idea of the city than Venice. An island constructed on upended logs in a lagoon off the coast of Italy, its very city-ness, its independence – in spirit at least – from the traditional nation state is the sort of thing we at Umbrella find hugely appealing. This is why we’re rather excited about Venice: Canaletto and his Rivals, an exhibition at the National Gallery in London, which runs until January 16. The 60-piece collection highlights the landscape paintings of La Serenissima by 18th Century Italian artist Canaletto and his contemporaries. No longer the power it had been, Venice became instead a town dedicated to pleasure, from its countless whorehouses to the casini (little houses) that were set up for rich local men to gamble in with foreign dignitaries. In every painting, Venice is bathed in beautiful light, a shining jewel of a city at its most glorious. Today’s reality may not quite live up to the ideal on show here, but there can be no better introduction to this magical place than this exhibition. www.nationalgallery.org.uk
Covered: Venice, art, fashion
In the air tonight
Rome’s double top
This summer’s top airport labels
The Italian capital opens two new arts spaces
photos: Simone Cecchetti, Courtesy of Fondazione MAXXI
For years, Rome has lagged behind other major European capitals when it comes to contemporary art, due to the conservative attitude common here – not helped by the pressing need to preserve pretty much everything in the centre of the city, lest some of the world’s most historically significant architecture and art is lost for good. That’s slowly changing thanks to the arrival of two new centres in the town: the Museo Nazionale delle Arti del XXI Secolo (otherwise known as the MAXXI), a swish new structure just across the River Tiber from the Stadio Olimpico, and even more impressively, the transformation of the Mattatoio, a beautiful 19th Century ex-slaughterhouse in the rapidly gentrifying district of Testaccio, into a contemporary arts exhibition centre. The as-yet unfinished complex, which will soon become one of the key centres for contemporary art and innovation in the Eternal City, has hosted MACRO (Museo d’Arte Contemporanea Roma) in one form or another since 2003, but now the whole development is getting ready to become a major centre for contemporary art, as well as host bars and restaurants for educated Romans. Visiting culture vultures need never deal with foggy old Milan ever again. Terry Daley www.fondazionemaxxi.it, www.macro.roma.museum
There’s nowhere better to sample the fashion tastes of a country’s general populace than the airport. This summer, Umbrella went, passport in hand, in search of the UK’s favourite clothing brands and found three labels in the ascendancy. Brand: Superdry Overview: Pretty much everyone wears Superdry. Go to any departure lounge from Glasgow to Gatwick and you’ll see legions of men under the age of 45 in the label. Especially popular are the Osaka T-shirts, SD’s ultra-distressed jeans and, if the weather’s not great, the zip-up, black Tech Windecheater jacket. No wonder MD Julian Dunkerton is in The Sunday Times Rich List. Brand: Jack Wills Overview: If Superdry uses vintage Americana as a starting point, then Jack Wills takes its cue from a mythical boarding school in which everyone has big hair and reggae hasn’t been invented. Cleverly marketed – clothes were sent to head boys and girls at top public schools – its items are worn by both posh kids and proles alike. Huge appetite for its hooded tops among university hockey club-type gals. Very big at Gatwick airport this year.
Exhibition spaces abound at the MAXXI and MACRO* *not the cash and carry chain
Brand: Allsaints Overview: More gothic and indie in feel than Superdry and Jack Wills, Allsaints is stil unthreatening enough to make it a staple with young British travellers. The company specialise in rock-y T-shirts with DIY-looking logos and grainy photography – the sort of thing worn by fashion-conscious students trying to look rebellious. Skull motifs very popular.
Covered: History, architecture
Mmm, very Moorish Granada’s sumptuous Alhambra palace is celebrated in a beautiful new book
Old master After the fall of Muslim Spain, the Alhambra was used by Christian rulers as a castle. The Palace of Charles V was built within the walls of the fort and completed in 1527. However, the complex gradually fell into disrepair, until it was rediscovered by educated travellers in the 18th Century.
he influence of Muslim rule on Spain, whether in its language, culture or architecture, cannot be understated. While we may think of the country today as dry and arid, to the desert-dwelling Arabs who invaded the Iberian peninsula in 711, Al-Andalus (as they called it) was a land of plenty. Here one could grow both crops and later, ideas – it’s no surprise the works of the Greek philosophers were saved here when they’d been forgotten in other parts of Europe. Perhaps the kingdom’s greatest architectural triumph is a building that was constructed just as AlAndalus was starting to crumble in the face of the Christian reconquest from the north. Granada’s Alhambra (‘red fort’ in Arabic) began life as a humble castle in the ninth century, but in 1238, founder of the Nasrid dynasty Ibn Nasr, oversaw a transformation that took it from dusty citadel to palace of delights. This iconic building is illuminated in a new book From Darkness to Light, The Alhambra, which, through pages of stunning photography, lifts the lid on this most mysterious of European palaces. Used to the blazing heat of north Africa, the Alhambra’s architects made use of Spain’s abundant – to them, at least – water
supply, filling the spaces between buildings with gardens, fountains and pools. Today, despite the fact that it’s one of Spain’s biggest tourist attractions, tranquility can still be found among the building’s Moorish arches and dripping water features. Spain may never be Arab again, but through the glory of buildings such as the Alhambra, it remains forever infused with a desert culture that will always make it unique in Christian Europe. From Darkness to Light, The Alhambra is published by TF Editores, priced £40 www.antique-acc.com
How technology killed rock ’n’ roll… and gave birth to the ‘experience society’ opinions opinions
By Anthony Teasdale tanstead airport, spring 2009. As I stand there, I notice men and women of various ages and social classes on their way to different corners of Europe. The groups of smartly-turned out women, Man United football fans and wealthylooking retirees may not look as though they have much in common, but they are all part of the 21st Century’s most happy marriage: technology and the fulfilment of our desires. I call it the ‘experience society’. Over the last 10 years, technology has replaced popular music as the driver for social change in the western world. And working with capitalism, it’s given the masses experiences that were once the preserve of the elite. The jet-set is now you and me. From 1955, until the beginning of the 21st Century, rock ’n’ roll music – and its derivatives – changed the behaviour of young people in the West. And as those young people got older, so transformed society as a whole. In the 1950s, ‘teenagers’ listened to Elvis and Jerry Lee Lewis as they stayed out late, challenged authority and got involved in gang violence. These things had happened before, but it was popular music that held them together. It was their thing. In the 1960s, middle-class students got into drugs and revolutionary politics under the guidance of The Beatles, the Stones and Jimi Hendrix. Meanwhile, tough, working class youths, disgusted by the ‘hairies’, shaved their heads, adopted a precise way of dressing based on the Ivy League look and danced to imported Jamaican ska records. They then took their violent behaviour and clothing rituals onto the football terraces and changed the Saturday afternoon soccer experience. Finally, in the late ’80s, the English suburban lower-middle classes, inspired by DJs who’d come back from Ibiza, adopted acid house and shaped it into something that made the taking of Class A drugs acceptable, changed the licensing laws of the UK and gave birth to a huge array of new music, from techno to what’s now labelled (groan) chill-out. It became the dominant youth cult for the next 15 years.
And then… nothing. There never was a new acid house. Pop culture experts predicted an emerging scene based on a music genre that would magically appear from nowhere. But it didn’t happen. And it didn’t for two reasons: 1) What you could do with the strict template of post-war black music was exhausted. 2) Music no longer defined us. In the first decade of the 21st Century, technology did. The battles that pop culture fought had been won. And when you’ve won you have nothing to fight against. Instead, technology became the new tool for social change. And it was a tool, not just for the young (as rock music had been), but for everybody.
‘The net enabled us to engage in activites once the preserve of society’s elite’ At first it was mobile phones, then it was texting, then it was explosion of the internet – and the internet, that network that we first used as a source of information, became something far more important: a tool that enabled ordinary people to engage in activities that were once were the preserve of the elite. This is the experience society. Let’s go back to Stanstead airport. The group of well-dressed young women are on their way to a spa resort on the Amalfi coast. They’ve read reviews online, noticed that it’s frequented by some of their favourite film stars and bargained a knockdown price they got through emailing the resort directly. Meanwhile, their local travel agent has shut down as demand falls. Then there’s the gang of Man United fans on their way to the Champions League final
in Rome. In the past, they would have only read about the match in the papers, but today, they’re here, furiously texting their mates about their journey. Some of them are posting pictures, taken on their iPhones, and putting them on the Red Issue chat room. Others have been swapping tips about hostelries, hotels and even brothels. They are determined to experience everything. Finally, there’s the retirement-age couple. For the next few months they’ll be living at their villa in the south of Spain, welcoming children, grandchildren and friends for the summer season. With enough money in the bank, they scoured the net for properties they liked the look of, checking out the interior of promising houses and, thanks to cheap flights available online, visited the local estate agent to finalize the deal. What would have been a near-impossible task 15 years ago has been made infinitely easier by technology. So, the experience society is both a product of our desires and more importantly, the realisation that technology, hand in hand with capitalism, can make those desires come true. What rock ’n’ roll and acid house achieved now seems tiny in comparison. The changes they brought in were relatively minor, but in the experience society, everything, whether it’s VIP tickets to see Liverpool FC or a halfprice late room deal at Le Meurice in Paris, is up for grabs – you just need to plug in your computer and go online. And pop music, no longer turning our young people into animals or offending guardians of public morals, has just become another cog in the wheel, another thing to experience, another chance for an “I was there” moment. Every gig you didn’t go to is online, all the records you always wanted are available at the click of the mouse and the special VIP package that lets you meet Elton John after his gig in Monaco is half price on lastminute.com. You could even go with your kids or parents – after all, you all listen to the same stuff these days. Seen it, done it, bought the T-shirt. In the experience society, it’s truer now than it ever has been.
Covered: Technology, identity, culture
ere’s a poser for you: when was the last time you saw upwards of 10,000 women boisterously marching through a city centre, bellowing out hymns in defence of their home town, while at the same time mocking another large gathering of women and their place of residence for its abundance of ill-conceived dwellings and inhabitants’ propensity for sexual relations among family members? Don’t bother answering, I’m being all clever and rhetorical. The point being that I’m not attempting to demonstrate womanhood’s apathetic betrayal of their God-given rights – their inability to take to the streets protesting about Elle Macpherson’s insipid performance on Britain’s Next Top Model (Monday night is ladies night around my way) is proof of that. Rather, maybe they’ve got their priorities right. Maybe, just maybe, where we’re from – our place of birth, the village/town/city/ cardboard box we call home and, especially, our country – really isn’t that important after all. And, yes, I know the scene I painted above was related to football, and support of one’s team goes beyond place (insert joke about Manchester United/Liverpool/Arsenal and their legions of interloper fans here), but you get my drift. So, chaps, sorry to turn centuries of perceived wisdom on its head and all that, but possibly we all need to be a bit more relaxed about this curious relationship between ‘home’, our identity and sense of self. Perhaps, as per Ian Brown’s memorable aphorism, it’s less about where you’re from, and more about where you’re at. Of course being from Manchester, he would say that. He can afford to be magnanimous. Believe me, I’m as obsessed as the next man about identity and how my place of birth and/or the places I’ve grown up continue to shape me. That’s possibly because the two places that do provide an adequate answer to the question, “Where are you from?”, I feel no affinity towards.
I was born in Boston, Lincolnshire, and lived there until just before my 13th birthday. When my dad got a new job, our nuclear family moved to Taunton, Somerset. My parents, quite likely correctly, felt the south west would provide better opportunities for their offspring than a town whose heyday had been back in the 13th Century. At first, I was proud of my Boston roots; my vaguely northern accent marking me out among my new classmates.
‘Maybe the city, town or village we call home really isn’t that important’ However, as I grew older I began to realise that Boston actually had very little to recommend it. These days, it’s only in the news because of sporadic outbreaks of racism (locals battling Portuguese immigrants after England were defeated by Portugal at Euro 2004 and the 2006 World Cup) and gluttony (apparently the town has the highest obesity rate in the country). It does, mercifully, have a soul though – albeit scarred and tortured.
Something that can’t be said for bland and vacuous Taunton. Funnily enough, my dad thinks I should reply “Taunton” when quizzed about where I come from – a question that living in London one gets asked a lot. I disagree, not only on the grounds that I don’t want to be associated with the place, but, moreover, I only lived there for seven years. I’ve lived in London for 12 years and I certainly don’t consider myself a Londoner. Tellingly, when my dad and I were having our dinner table tête-â-tête, the ladies present – my mum and my girlfriend – kept quiet. And not because they were suddenly transported back to the ’50s, but they really couldn’t be bothered to shrug their shoulders, such was their indifference. The nature of nationality is slightly more thorny, and therefore needs to have its bubble burst even more. Put simply, nationality is something of a man-made phenomenon. Backward-looking folk like your commonor-garden nationalist might like to argue otherwise, that it is natural and authentic, but consider us Brits. Could there be a more bastard nation? We should be proud of this mix; celebrate it in a form of progressive patriotism espoused by the likes of Billy Bragg. To believe that nations ( just look at the idea of the nation state – it’s a modern artifice designed to bolster capitalism) are repositories of some traditional truth, which is generally just a disguise for racism or, at best, jingoism, is a fallacy. Yes, we all have little quirks and we can all have a laugh and a joke at the Frenchman’s obsession with sex, while the converse is said to apply to us Brits, but let’s not take it any further than that. Nationality is more fluid than ever before – a reason why I don’t have a problem with the likes of Kevin Pietersen, Craig Kieswetter et al representing England at cricket. In a sophisticated society we should embrace this. And at the same time, let us all agree that I don’t have to answer Taunton when asked the question that bedevils us all.
Why men care about their identity – and why they’re wasting their time
By Jim Butler www.umbrellamagazine.co.uk
Cook the perfect pie Pies are the ultimate expression of British home-cooked food f summer means salad – though Umbrella’s idea of a salad tends to include ham, bacon, cheese and other stuff that’s bad for you – then autumn sees a return to the foods that truly define British cuisine. Dishes like sausage and mash, roast pork, beef stew – food that warms, comforts and delights us with its meaty, savoury flavours. We’re talking root vegetables, unctuous, slow-cooked meat and thick, dark gravy working together, then scooped into those dish-plate things you get in gastropubs. This is food that fuelled – if the workers were lucky – the first industrial nation in the world: cheap cuts, fatty ends and bones suspended in lip-smacking sauces, eaten by the fire in the days before television. The undoubted king of this cuisine is the pie. Whether it’s a so-hot-you-can’t-eat it mince beef job from Greenhalgh’s in Lancashire (an endless chimney of steam appearing from the little hole in the top) or a gamey turkey and ham one, boxed-up and handed to you by a nice man on the Selfridges food floor, pies mix the convenience of fast food with the flavours that only hours of cooking can produce. They’re also good if you don’t like washing-up – after all, who needs a plate when you can have gravy-sodden pastry? British restaurant Canteen has forged its reputation with its pies, freshly made in its kitchens every day. There can be few thing better than relaxing in its London Baker Street branch and sitting down to one of its chicken pies – usually washed down with a pint of the Meantime Brewery’s excellent beer. With mash and greens (and extra gravy if you ask nicely) on the side, it’s the sort of well balanced meal your grandma specialised in. The fact that it’s eaten in a restaurant that confirms to Umbrella’s strict design ethic (we especially love the use of Gill Sans as the signature typeface) just makes the experience better.
cass titcombe q&A Cass Titcombe, executive chef and owner of Canteen, is a man who’s even more passionate about pies than we are. Who better then to tell us why these little parcels of joy are so special? Umbrella: Why do you think pies are so popular in Britain? Cass Titcombe: “Pies have been a victim of the industrialisation of food and it’s one of the many reasons why UK cuisine has had such a bad reputation. Luckily, Canteen, along with other restaurants and chefs, has shown the eating-out public what a great pie is like.” U: What’s your favourite pie to make? What would go with it? CT: “My personal favourite has to be steak and kidney, served with some buttery mash, savoy cabbage, a good meaty gravy and a pint of Meantime pale ale – although it was a tough choice between the steak and kidney, and the spicy mutton.” U: Why should we make our own pies when we can get them from the supermarket? CT: “Making a pie yourself is really quite simple affair and infinitely more rewarding than buying one, plus you’ve got the added bonus of knowing exactly what has gone into it. You can make one in advance and then just bake it before you want to eat it.” U: What is about pies that you love so much at Canteen? CT: “We love pies at Canteen because they’re a great value meal. We pack ours with free range meat and by using the cheaper cuts that need long and slow cooking we make sure they’re full of flavour. They’re also really quick to serve once cooked so it’s great for our lunchtime customers that are in a hurry. U: Tell us about the greatest pie you’ve ever had: where was it, what was it and how did it taste? CT: “The best one I ever tasted (apart from the ones we make and sell) was probably a rabbit shepherd’s pie served at Arbutus in London’s Soho. It was made from slow-cooked shoulder with a very rich meaty gravy and the buttery-est mash topping. It was actually only part of the main course but I would have been happy with just that on its own.” Canteen: Great British Food by Cass Titcombe, Patrick Clayton-Malone and Dominic Lake, published by Ebury, £16.99
Covered: Pies, British cuisine
Canteen’s favourite pies Three of the British restaurant’s best SPICY MUTTON PIE Serves 6 The rich filling for this pie was inspired by our favourite East End Indian restaurants. It’s made with mutton, which has an undeserved image today of being old knackered meat. This just isn’t true. It is very tasty, and works well with the spices. 2 tbsp sunflower oil 1 medium onion, cut in 1cm dice 150g carrots, cut in 1cm dice 100g fennel, cut in 1cm dice 2 tsp curry powder 1 tsp mustard seeds 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper 1 tsp ground ginger 1 tsp ground coriander 4 garlic cloves, chopped 1kg boned leg of mutton, cut in 2–3cm dice 400g can chopped tomatoes 30g treacle 250ml meat stock 1 heaped tbsp tomato purée 150g peeled and diced potatoes salt To finish 700g puff pastry 1 egg, beaten
1 2 3
Heat up the oil in a large, heavy bottomed pan and sweat the onion, carrots and fennel for about 15 minutes or until soft but not brown. Add all the spices and the garlic. Stir well. Cook for 5 minutes. Add the mutton together with the tomatoes, treacle, stock, tomato purée and some salt. Bring to the boil, then cover and simmer gently for 2–3 hours, stirring occasionally. Add the potatoes and cook for a further 30 minutes or until the meat is tender but not falling apart. Remove from the heat and allow to cool completely. Preheat the oven to 170°C. Butter the inside of a 28–30cm oval pie dish that is at least 8cm deep. Roll out the pastry on a well-floured board to a thickness of 3mm. Cut out an oval piece of pastry to line the dish. The pastry needs to be long and wide enough to cover the bottom and sides of the dish, with some extra for overhang. Place in the dish, leaving the edges hanging over the sides. Brush the overhang with a little beaten egg. Fill with the cold pie filling. Cut a piece of pastry for the lid – this should be slightly larger than the dish – and lay it over the filling. Dip your fingers in flour and pinch the edges of the lid to the edges of the pastry lining the dish, to seal them together. Trim off excess pastry with a knife. Cut three or four 1-cm slits in the lid, to allow steam to escape during baking. Brush the lid with beaten egg to glaze. Bake for 35–40 minutes
5 6 7
until the pastry is golden brown and the filling is bubbling around the edges and through the slits in the lid. Serve hot. Notes: If you like your food quite spicy, use a hot curry powder, or add more curry powder to taste. As with all of the pie fillings, this is delicious simply eaten on its own as a stew. We serve our pies with mash, gravy and greens, but they’re just as good with boiled potatoes and other vegetables or with salad.
5 6 7
Season the diced kidneys. Add to the pan and cook, covered, for a further 1–1½ hours until all the meat is tender. Remove from the heat and check the seasoning. Allow to cool completely. Assemble and bake the pie (see Spicy Mutton pie, steps 5–8). Serve hot. Notes: Oysters used to be common in steak and kidney pie, and adding a drained can of smoked oysters will give an old-fashioned flavour here.
STEAK AND KIDNEY PIE
CHICKEN & MUSHROOM PIE
Serves 6 Here’s a great British classic that has retained its huge popularity over the years. We’ve kept it quite traditional, but made our pie the best one ever. When you cut through the crust, it smells gorgeous.
Serves 6 A pie like this would have been a midweek meal at home, and you wouldn’t see it on restaurant menus. On our menu, though, it is a perennial hit.
40g beef dripping or 3 tbsp olive oil 1 medium onion, cut in 1cm dice 150g carrots, cut in 1cm dice 100g celery, cut in 1cm dice 1kg beef chuck, cut in 2–3cm dice 1 1/2 tbsp plain white flour 250ml Guinness 250ml meat stock 2 tsp worcestershire sauce 100g leeks, diced 2 garlic cloves, chopped 10g fresh thyme sprigs, tied in a bundle 2 bay leaves 500g ox kidneys (prepared by the butcher), diced salt and black pepper To finish 700g puff pastry 1 egg, beaten
Heat up half of the dripping or oil in a metal casserole until hot and lightly smoking. Add the onion, carrots and celery and sauté for 5–10 minutes to brown lightly. Remove from the pan. Season the beef with salt and pepper. Get the pan very hot and add more of the dripping or oil if there is none left from the vegetables. Brown off the meat for 5 minutes (do this in batches), turning the dice to ensure they are well coloured on all sides. When all the beef is browned and back in the casserole, sprinkle over the flour and stir well. Add the Guinness, stock and Worcestershire sauce, scraping any tasty residue from the bottom of the pan and mixing it into the liquid. Add the sautéed vegetables, leeks, garlic, thyme and bay leaves. Cover and cook over a very low heat for 1 hour.
2 tsp olive oil 45g butter 1 medium onion, diced 100g celery, diced 200g leeks, diced 2 garlic cloves, chopped 10g fresh tarragon sprigs, leaves picked and chopped 700g skinless chicken thigh meat, cut in 4–5cm chunks 1 heaped tbsp dried porcini 300ml chicken stock 100ml white wine 25g plain white flour 200ml double cream 1 heaped tbsp dijon mustard 200g button mushrooms, halved salt and white pepper To finish 700g puff pastry 1 egg, beaten
Heat the oil and 25g of the butter in a large, heavybottomed pan. Sweat the onion, celery and half the leeks for about 10 minutes or until soft and translucent. Add the garlic, tarragon, chicken, dried porcini, stock, wine and ½ teaspoon salt. Cover and cook on a low heat for 30–45 minutes until the chicken is cooked through. Pour into a sieve set over a bowl, to strain the cooking liquid. Reserve the chicken mixture. Melt the remaining 20g butter in a clean pan. Whisk in the flour and cook for 2–3 minutes until bubbling. Gradually whisk in the cooking liquid and bring to a simmer. Whisk in the cream and mustard. Remove from the heat. Add the chicken mixture, mushrooms and remaining leeks to the sauce and mix together. Allow to cool completely. Assemble and bake the pie (see Spicy Mutton pie, steps 5–8). Serve hot.
Evan DG Fraser & Andrew Rimas In their new book Empires of Food: Feast, Famine and the Rise and Fall of Civilizations, authors Evan Fraser and Andrew Rimas look at how what we put in our bellies has shaped our existence since the time of the huntergatherers. From Imperial Rome to the British Empire, the search for food – and more efficient ways to cultivate it – has sparked both glorious civilization and horrendous, worldwide depravation. And it’s still shaping us today
evan fraser Umbrella: When did people start cooking food? Evan Fraser: A long time ago. We have no evidence for a specific date, but it probably had to do with killing bacteria and preventing food poisoning. U: When did a specific food culture appear? E: The earliest examples of settled agriculture are the Chinese, the Sumerians around Mesopotamia, and then later in South America. These are the key starting points. From then on, you see references to food in hieroglyphics and people being buried with food. U: Didn’t the Roman Empire depend on ‘garam’, the fish oil? EF: “Yes. For the most part, the Empire fed itself from wheat and barley, but there’s little protein in them. Fish is an obvious supplement, but it spoils quickly. Garam, which is fish soaked in brine so the bones and flesh drop off, became major role in Roman diets and was a huge part of the Empire’s trade. U: So how does food lead to empire-building? EF: The core of a complex society is to have farmers who make more than they can eat. Their surplus is then fed to the urban population. You need a food surplus, a way of storing and transporting this food, and finally, a means to get it exchanged from the farmer to the consumer. You can then take a percentage of your population and allow them to be scholars or journalists or engineers. If you don’t have that then everyone’s tied to the land. Every
civilization that developed possessed those three vital ingredients. U: Medieval monasteries became great powerhouses through trade, too… EF: Think of western Europe as being unlawful with a low population in about 500AD. You then see monks building farms and monasteries. They became the focus of communities that grew by producing food, storing it and trading it with other monasteries. After a few hundred years, this process made them enormously wealthy. The monks then focused on improving agricultural technology by inventing/rediscovering things like water mills, big, heavy ploughs and windmills. It was an agricultural revolution. U: Wasn’t beer key to their trade? EF: It was, certainly in Britain. One of the ways the monks stored beer was by adding hops to it. Hops are anti-bacterial, which meant you could take your surplus barley/wheat and turn it into something that could last for a few months – enough time to get it from northern France to Italy. The same happened with Parmesan cheese.
years of ‘natural capital’. When you first use that soil, you get great harvests. But it doesn’t last. The second mistake was that farmers got their surplus by specializing in just one crop. It makes economical sense, but you end up with an ecological nightmare –a monocultural landscape dedicated to one crop. It’s very fragile and very attractive to pests. When you grow intensely, it requires lots of nitrogen and water. It’s very demanding on the soil. The third mistake sent the system into decline. When societies hit a high watermark of huge achievement it tended to coincide with good climate – Roman times were warm, but there was enough rain. The Mayan period and the medieval period of growth all enjoyed good weather and grew dependent on those harvests. But these periods came to an end and as the weather declined, the soils were fragile and couldn’t adapt to the new conditions. There was widespread famine – the Roman Empire lost half its population in two generations.
U: Was this sustainable? EF: The monks were shrewd businessmen, but three mistakes were made by them, as had been by the Chinese, the Romans, the Mesopotamians – and now, unfortunately, us.
U: How else does that affect a big, complex society like Rome? EF: There’s a lack of tax revenues – that hits the military funding, so people in the periphery become lawless and attack Roman legions who themselves haven’t been paid in months. Food, climate and soil kick off huge problems and food price inflation.
U: Which were? EF: First, the society grew dependent on harvests that had been ploughed on virgin soil. After the Romans left places like England, soils that had been drained of nutrients in the past had 300
U: What about in medieval Europe? EF: In 1290, food price inflation starts happening, prices start gong up. A bad midsummer rain in 1315, a series of food harvest failures between 1315-20 and 15 per cent of Europe dies.
Covered: Food, politics, environment Civil unrest starts spiking, bands of violent men roam the country and the Black Death comes in 1340 and it hits this culture that’s already in crisis. The political systems have broken down, people’s immune systems are low – between 1315-60, half of Europe dies. If you swap the 1300s for the modern world, you’ve got signs of the same thing happening today. U: What do you mean? EF: There’s now a massive population growth worldwide, serious deforestation linked to soil erosion, significant urbanization – and they all expanded during good climate periods. Between the 1930s and ’90s, there were no bad droughts. In the process, we’ve cut down our forests, eroded our topsoil and we don’t have a buffer. In the last five years we’ve had huge food inflation and grain tripled in price the last few years. Pressure came off in 2008, but this year it’s pretty bad – in Russia the crop is down by
U: Is there a good side to this? AR: The good aspect is that people who obsess over their food become educated about it. This means they become aware of terms like organic and locavore [a locavore is someone who only eats locally-grown produce]. That’s positive. A lot of this is summarized in the slow food movement in Italy. I was really sceptical about it, but when I started to talk to those people, I saw it’s a really useful first step. U: Is cuisine directly related to our national character? AR: A lot of people have said geography is destiny. Now we’ve come to level because our food culture is global, it’s no longer fate, it’s choice. It’s a political choice, how we spend our money is more important than voting, as food is something we consume more than anything else. We need to be mindful of the wastefulness.
‘we’ve cut down our forests and eroded our topsoil – and we don’t have a buffer’
U: What can we do? EF: The best thing to do is to adopt is to adopt a lesson from the bankers – they specialize, but also have some other stocks as a hedge and maintain cash reserves. Our food system should be seen in the same light. We should maintain trading links, food reserves and have some diversity alongside our specialization. We need bigger larders, household food banks, and we need the West and African nations invest in grain silos. It’s perceived as waste as it goes bad, but it’s an insurance policy.
Andrew Rimas Umbrella: Andrew, you’re more concerned with the impact of food on society today. Are there some big issues about our food culture? Andrew Rimas: Yes. We write about the ‘new gluttony’ – the foodie revolution. It’s called that because the old gluttony was overeating – the new is refinement in eating. That reflects to an older definition when it was just as sinful to take interest in your food as it was to eat too much of it. It’s now reversed. The bad aspect of this is that people can be wasting a lot of resources and ordering Kobe beef or sea bass, both of which are very inefficient ways to feed people. If you’re eating beef from Japan you can’t really justify it from an ethical point of view.
U: What was the impact on the British Empire? AR: We write a lot about the Empire, the growth of the tea trade and how the desire to profit from tea drove expansion. When the plantations that the British set up in Sri Lanka were damaged by weather, millions starved. Before that, they’d been subsistence farms and they’d had their own system of feeding, but when they were plantation workers they were left without any resort. The Irish famine was also a result of imperial policies. The famine came about because you had an expanding population, and with land inheritance, people had smaller plots which were bought up by rich landowners, who used it for grain. The subsistence farmers grew potatoes on the edge of grain fields, but when you have a single crop you’re susceptible to blight. U: Finally, what’s the situation at present? AR: I think we’re going to go through some bumpy times and we’re going to be forced to change, no matter what. It depends on how many steps we’ll take in advance to safeguard ourselves, but I don’t think we’ll do that as human beings tend not to look ahead. It won’t be famine, but there’ll be rising prices in the developed world and famine on the edges of the third. The wars of the future may be over other resources, not oil.
Empires of Food is out now, published by Random House, priced £14
25 per cent. China’s doubled its import of wheat in light of the Russian drought. Most people expect that we’ll have more bad weather in the next 50 years than in the last 50 and it’s sounding like those previous crises.
the umbrella bar
Hot in the city Three cocktails to combat the autumn gloom ven though we often get stuck behind gentlemen from the City of London ordering eight mojitos in our favourite local boozer, Umbrella loves a perfectly blended cocktail as much as the next clothes-obsessed poser. However, it being autumn, we’re rather keen on enjoying our drinks in the comfort of our home rather than in a crowded bar full of braying idiots in bad suits. It was decided, therefore, to find someone who could rustle up a few seasonal cocktail recipes, so we could enjoy our little sharpeners without leaving Umbrella HQ. Our search ended with expert mixologist Giles Looker, a veteran of some of the world’s best cocktail bars, including the very swish Mahiki in London. With a bottle of Southern Comfort and a dazzling array of ingredients in hand, he devised three awesome autumn cocktails for Umbrella, with just enough kick in them to make the dark days vaguely bearable. Our next task was to find someone to share them with…
Christmas Comfort and Joy Ingredients: 40ml Southern Comfort 20ml Lemon Juice 80ml Cranberry Juice 10ml Sugar syrup Dash of bitters
Voodoo Jam Ingredients: 40ml Southern Comfort 1 heaped teaspoon of premium strawberry jam 20ml fresh lemon juice 30ml fresh orange juice 30ml light red wine (Pinot Noir) Dash of bitters Garnish – mint sprig/orange slice/strawberry
Method: ❶ Add all the ingredients into a pan and heat gently, but do not boil. ❷ Garnish with an orange twist (orange peel) Giles says: “A warm and spicy cocktail, perfect served with a turkey sandwich and a log fire. Simmer the ingredients in a pan to bring out the true spice of the Southern Comfort and Angostura bitters, before garnishing with an orange twist.”
Method: ❶ Remove the lid from the jam jar and fill with cubed ice ❷ Add all ingredients ❸ Securely replace the jam jar lid and give the jar a good shake ❹ Add the garnish and serve your delicious creation
Giles says: “The Voodoo Jam puts an eerie twist on the legendary Louisiana Jam and is the perfect autumn party cocktail. Use a good Pinot Noir, plenty of ice and some premium strawberry jam to concoct a blood-red look. Don’t forget to put the lid back on the jam jar before shaking.”
Ingredients: 35ml Southern Comfort Juice of 4 lime wedges Ginger beer 3 dashes of Angostura Bitters
The beautiful south Southern Comfort, first distilled in 1874, is still made in its home city of New Orleans. It’s available in this limited edition bottle for the Christmas period.
Method: ❶ Fill the glass with cubed ice ❷ Pour in Southern Comfort ❸ Squeeze lime wedges into the glass and discard ❹ Add the Angostura Bitters ❺ Top with ginger beer ❻ Garnish with lime wedges Giles says: “An alternative drink to put some spice in your belly as the autumn weather settles in. This easy-to-make recipe is a real treat – serve in a tall glass with cubed ice and garnish with lime to give it that extra bit of zing.”
Covered: Mixology, bourbon, chicken, cuisine
The simple pleasures of…
A rotisserie chicken here are some sights and smells that take food away from its primary function – pleasant-tasting fuel – into something altogether more sensual. Rotisserie chicken, well, in truth, it can be pretty much rotisserie anything, is one such food. We’re not talking about the anaemic little birds that can be bought from high street supermarkets, though they’ll do if there’s nothing better about, but rather the golden, endlessly basted poulet or pollo you’ll find in slowly-turning racks outside cafés and groceries in France and Spain. In terms of aroma and pure taste, we can think of nothing better. Whether it’s the quality of the meat itself – though we’re not fooling ourselves that every chicken from across the Channel is corn-fed by maidens in forests around the Dordogne – or the herbs it’s basted in, there is something utterly enticing about plucking a bird from a rotisserie cabinet to be washed down with a couple of cold lagers for lunch. One Umbrella staffer remembers going to a tiny chicken shop in Nerja, southern Spain, after a week of eating tapas, manchego cheese and jamon, and being confronted with a roti cabinet groaning with glistening, constantly-basting chickens. Once the bird was chosen, the sunburnt old man in charge of the shop turned and asked him if he wanted “salsa”. A quick nod, and several ladels of garlicinfused meat juices from the bottom of the roti were poured over the chicken, leaving a perfect mix of crispy skin, succulent meat and savoury, fragrant gravy. “It was,” he says, “the best meal of my life.” It’s hard to get chicken of such quality in Britain, though a home roast – regularly turned with lemon and garlic – does come close. But if it’s proper rotisserie you want, then a trip to Café Anglaise in London’s Queensway is an absolute must. Head chef Rowley Leigh is a man who understands this way of cooking. He tells Umbrella: “Put simply, roast chicken is one of the world’s greatest dishes, and the only way to cook chicken properly is to turn it on a spit. Nobody who has ever had golden, juicy chicken cooked on the rotisserie can possibly resist it.” We couldn’t have put it better ourselves. www.lecafeanglais.co.uk
Skewered The key to a good rotisserie chicken is to expose the meat to heat from the side, thus retaining the savoury juices below.
Our favourite things…
The Adidas World Cup football boot hen I was ten, there were only three things I really wanted in my life. The first was my parents to get back together. They’d just divorced and I was having to get used to spending half the week at my mum’s new house, the other half with my dad in the home I’d grown up in. Walking around with an Adidas holdall filled with washed/ unwashed clothes and schoolboy crap not only ripped my shoulder to bits, but also made me look like a member of the IRA looking for somewhere convenient to deposit a bomb. The second and third things were more tangible, but just as unlikely to materialise: the Adidas Tango football and its stablemate, the World Cup boot. At that age I was obsessed with soccer. I played it twice a week for the cubs and school, went to nearby Anfield as often as my dad would take me (being lower middle class I wasn’t allowed to go on my own yet) and devoured every appearance of the game, from Harry Carpenter’s Sportsnight to The Big Match on ITV. But what I yearned for more than anything else was the World Cup to come around. And in 1982, it did. For a month I gorged on the football played in Spain. Feasted on it. Indulged my passion for the game with a lust previously unknown to me. And at the centre of every game was the Adidas Tango, the most beautiful football in the world. No one at the local park had a Tango. Usually we played with a battered “casey”, a leather imitation of the Adidas Telstar with the black and white panels peeled off, or even worse, an orange Tornado, a hard, plastic job that gave you a dead leg
when it clattered into your bare thighs on Saturday mornings. Tangos were for pros, not us. And yet, if one had the means, they could be bought. I’d seen one in the window of my local sports shop, sitting there, a vision of beauty a galaxy away from anything I could ever afford. And to make it worse, on the next display was the Adidas World Cup ’82 boot. For a young person of limited mean – but expensive tastes – it was torture. The World Cup was just better than anything else around at that time. In fact, 27 years after, it still is. Not only did it have the softest upper, quilted around the toe for better torsion (apparently), it boasted a sole so beautiful I’d spend hours gazing at it. Perfectly proportioned in red, white and black, at its very centre was the Adidas trefoil, still the greatest logo in the history of sporting design. But, like the Tango, it too was out of my grasp – the price of £32 too steep for everyone but the most indulged of children. It hurt me that at the moment when I needed them most (and I did need them) the Tango and World Cup could never be mine. Of course, time – and other things, like girls and music – took away my yearning for these wonders, but they’d appear in my mind occasionally, reminders of an age when I was on the cusp of adolescence and wanted objects that reflected my changing status. A year or two ago, I did what I’d always promised I’d do when I could afford it: I finally bought myself a pair of World Cups. They sit in my wardrobe today, brought out for when I play one of my occasional games. The leather is as soft as I remembered (it’s kangaroo hide), the sole looks as timeless as ever and when I put them on, I get an inner glow that lasts for the duration of the match. I haven’t got round to buying a Tango yet, but when I get a place with a garden – and maybe produce a child – it’s on the list. Right at the top. I’m still working on getting the folks back together.
What’s in a name? ‘Adidas’ is a portmanteau word made from founder Adolph Dassler’s name. The relationship with Adi’s brother Rudolph grew so bitter he set up his own company, Puma.
The Adidas trefoil (above) is now only used on the brand’s Originals range. The Performance line uses the three-stripe graphic, though it’s a testament to the World Cup that it’s included in this hi-tech range.
Get a grip Adidas really cemented its reputation for football boots at the 1954 World Cup. Founder Adi Dassler gave the West German team pairs of his lightweight boots with screw-in studs. When the side faced Hungary in the final, Adidasâ€™ studs helped them to keep their footing in the muddy soil and win the match.
words and photography: anthony teasdale
Covered: Football, design
Field trip Architecture, travel and transport
Field trip 29
30: Londonâ€™s most exciting new buildings 38: Barcelona: our verdict 42: Beautiful cycles from Tokyo Bikes
Alpine star Umbrella travels to Basel in Switzerland for a weekend of cultural recuperation at the very tasteful Les Trois Rois hotel.
30 Field trip
Tall stories Five new buildings that will change London’s skyline for good… The Shard Location: 32 London Bridge Street, SE1 Architect: Renzo Piano Developer: Sellar Property Group Completion: May 2012
At nearly twice the height of the Swiss Re building (the ‘Gherkin’), the 87-storey Shard at London Bridge will be the tallest building in the European Union when it’s completed in two years time – though smaller than the Mercury City Tower in Moscow, due in 2011. The ‘shard of glass’ shape came to architect, Renzo Piano, as he illustrated the building to developer Irvine Sellar, on the back of a menu at lunch one day. He stated that office floors should be wider than hotel ones and therefore put in the lower section of the tower. Residential floors are narrower and should therefore be nearer the spire-like top. The finished building therefore will follow that model – a dramatic, tapering tower that will dominate the London skyline for years to come. Offices will be housed up to the 28th floor, then the Shangri La hotel in the middle, before the residential space at the top. There’ll be four floors of viewing galleries for visitors to use, with access from London Bridge station. Piano says that the Shard will use an advanced type of glass with a low iron content, claming that, “If you use low iron glass you end up with something that’s like a crystal. It’s going to be more vibrant and changing. So depending on the day, the light and the position of the sun, the building will look different.” Currently under construction, the core should reach the 72nd floor sometime this month. With a building this high, productivity is a big issue. This has been solved with canteens inside the tower every 10 storeys, so brickies never have to travel more than five storeys to get their bacon sandwiches. www.shardlondonbridge.com
Secure Following the 9/11 attacks, the Shard has been designed to maintain stabilty in the most extreme conditions.
Covered: Architecture, London
Neo Bankside Location: Sumner Street, SE1 (behind Tate Modern) Architect: Rogers Stirk Harbour & Partners (formerly Richard Rogers) Developer: Native Land/Grosevenor Estate joint venture Completion: End of 2010
One Hyde Park One Hyde Park Location: 68-114 Knightsbridge, SW1 Architect: Rogers Stirk Harbour & Partners (formerly Richard Rogers) Developer: A consortium including Candy & Candy Completion: End of 2010
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London post-Shard The Shard will change colour depending on the position of the sun The view from Neo Bankside takes in the City and the Tate The Shard in its present state All is Leafy at One Hyde Park Neo Bankside on Southwark St
If you’re a Russian oligarch and your idea of home is a sprawling apartment of 27,000 sq ft (the equivalent of about 27 ‘normal’ terraced houses) and getting your room service via a tunnel from Mandarin Oriental next door, then consider a penthouse at One Hyde Park for £140m. If you’re not that rich, the other 85 flats start at guide price of circa £6,000 per sq ft, which for a 1,000 sq ft apartment, still works out at £6m, six times that of the Henson Building in Camden (see page 32). The scheme consists of four hexagonal blocks linked by stair and lift cores, with the idea being to maximise residents’ views. The flats will have topof-the-range kitchens and bathrooms, but bedrooms and living areas will be left for the residents’ interior design teams to finish off. It also comes with ‘posh concrete’ columns, containing crushed limestone for whiteness and mica for sparkle. www.onehydepark.com
Forget art, try architecture. That’s the aim with Neo Bankside, a large, mostly-residential scheme of 229 flats in four hexagonal high rises (the tallest being 24 storeys) behind the Tate Modern, plus a smaller five-storey building on Southwark Street. Similar in apppearance to the Rogers-designed Lloyds Building in the City, (the one with the service pipes on the outside) the support structure of steel bracing at Neo Bankside is external, avoiding the need for internal structural walls and allowing natural light to come through. The scheme incorporates glass lifts in transparent shafts, roof gardens and green touches like solar water heating from roof panels and a system for using collected rainwater for irrigating landscaped areas. Very much in keeping with the Umbrella ethos. Neo Bankside will be next to the new Southwark entrance to Blackfriars Station and just a couple of minutes across the Thames via the Millennium (no longer wobbly) Bridge. Will this prevent the good folk north of the river from considering residents of Neo Bankside as south Londoners? It’s doubtful. It is in Millwall’s catchment area after all. www.neobankside.com
32 Field trip
Covered: Architecture, London
The Henson Building Location: 30 Oval Road, NW1 Architect: Tate Hindle Developer: London & Newcastle Completion: Just completed
If you like the art deco Daily Express buildings in London and Manchester, then the façade of the new Charlotte Building should be worthy of your admiration. This 41,000 sq ft office block, located in winding 18th Century streets just north of Oxford Street, also shares a dramatic reception in common with the Daily Express blocks and has stylish, coffered lighting. With its central position and beautiful design, this is somewhere that at Umbrella we’d love as our workplace. The fully glazed exterior boasts curved corners and dotted patterning on the glass to lend a pop art, 3D effect. On the top floor, the glazing is set back, giving access to a terrace, from which one gets a good view of London and the nearby BT Tower. The Charlotte won the RIBA London Award 2010 – and with environmental features that reduce the need for air conditioning and keep noise levels down, we can see why. www.charlottebuildingw1.com
Named after Muppets creator Jim Henson, this building brings New York loft living to Camden Town in this converted Victorian building. Oval Road itself crosses the Regent’s Canal at Southampton Bridge, just past Camden Lock, and the building reflects the area’s industrial past. The site was originally a railway store for the nearby Camden Goods Yard, now the site of a Morrison’s supermarket and The Roundhouse, another former railway building. It was later occupied by Jim Henson’s Creature Shop where the puppets, animatronic characters and effects for films such as The Dark Crystal were produced. The sixth-floor building has 46 flats, including newly erected penthouses, two of which are 4,000 sq ft duplexes – ideal for millionaire rock stars who want to stay in Camden without slumming it. Internally, brick walls are exposed and stainless steel kitchens are used everywhere. All very cool. The marketing brochure depicts a copulating couple on the bed of one of the floor plans, but there’s no mention of the convenience of having Morrison’s around the corner, a massive selling point in Umbrella’s view. And a sure-fire way to impress any lady of taste. www.thehenson.co.uk
07 08 09 10 11
The Charlotte Building Rounded corners at the Charlotte Henson Building apartment The Victorian exterior of the Henson Building The Henson’s copulating couple show up on-plan
WORDS: JUSTIN CLACK
Charlotte Building Location: Gresse Street, W1 Architect: Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands Developer: Derwent London Completion: Just competed
34 Field trip
Covered: Basel, city breaks
The hotel’s location in the centre of town is ideal, while refined luxury awaits after a hard day’s sightseeing
Somewhere for the weekend
Le Trois Rois, Basel, Switzerland ituated in a corner of Switzerland that’s sandwiched by both France and Germany, Basel is a city that wears its cultural heart on its well-tailored sleeve. The fact that it combines countless bars, restaurants and galleries with the country’s biggest football team and a brilliant urban transport system means it can do little wrong in Umbrella’s eyes. There’s always something to see or eat in this city of 200,000 inhabitants, and Basel has an atmosphere of tolerance that seems to come from its location on the Rhine – it’s Switzerland’s biggest port – and the fact that its suburbs grow into both France and Germany. The hordes of good-looking locals bronzing themselves on the banks of the river in summer is the sort of activity that seems very un-Swiss, but extremely alluring to our eyes. For sheer old school luxury, we’re big fans of Les Trois Rois hotel (a French name in a German-speaking city), situated on the river in the centre of Basel’s Old Town. There’s nothing boutique about this grand place, Les Trois Rois is the sort of hotel that people who really know how to spend their money wisely stay at. We may not be quite in that elevated category, but if refinement and class are what floats your custom-built boat, then we can think of few better ways to spend a weekend away. All aboard!
Les Tres Rois recommends you… 1) Visit two of the exhibitions coming up. Firstly, Andy Warhol: The Early Sixties, which runs until January 23, 2011, at the Kunstmuseum; then Wien 1900, (until January 16, 2011 at the Fondation Beyeler. 2) Have a few jars at the Brauerei Fischerstube, perhaps the smallest brewery in Europe. Here, you can watch beer being made in the brewery and fermented in the cellars, or just sit in the beer garden and enjoy a cool Ueli ale straight from the cask. Then drink some more. 3) Check out St. Alban-Tal, a district with a fascinating past. Located between St. Alban-Tor, the Museum of Fine Arts and the Rhine, this is a very special place. A mixture of the modern and the past, you’ll find old half-timbered houses and modern architecture, the medieval paper mill and the Museum of Contemporary Art. 4) Go out to BarRouge, located in the top level of the Messeturm exhibition tower, which offers a splendid view of Basel and the surrounding area. We also like the Café des Arts and Campari Bar, the place to meet. 5) Get cultural at the Vitra Design Museum located just on the other side of the German border. The museum offers guided architectural tours of buildings by renowned architects such as Frank Gehry, Zaha Hadid, and Herzog & de Meuron (the creators of London’s Tate Modern). Les Trois Rois is at CH-4001, Basel, Switzerland. www.lestroisrois.com
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Tunnels of love Merseyrail is a metro Umbrella’s really falling for t seems fitting that the former second city of the British Empire has the second biggest urban rail network outside the capital. In terms of overall reach and numbers of passengers, only London Underground is larger than Merseyrail. While Manchester’s Metrolink connects large tracts of the northern metropolis, it’s still only a tram. A real city needs a real subway – and Liverpool has just that. With three lines; the Northern, Wirral and City (though in truth, the City is basically a regular line sponsored by Mersey Travel), Merseyrail links the city with its suburbs and the beautiful coastline of Sefton and the Wirral. At Umbrella, we’re particularly keen on the underground ‘Loop’ that connects the four city centre stations, running trains every five minutes from the Liverpool Central hub. Getting the train from Moorfields, in the heart of Liverpool’s financial quarter, to Birkenhead’s Hamilton Square (with its Venetian-style tower) for a quick look at the Mersey waterfront is one of the north west’s essential urban experiences. Overseen by Mersey Travel (and run by Dutch company Serco), independent of National Rail, the system is as unique as the city it serves.
With over 100,000 passengers a day using 67 stations on 75 miles of track, Merseyrail has become vital in the running of the city and its region – running with 96 per cent punctuality, it’s easy to see why. We’re also impressed with its accommodation of cyclists, which, with so many coastal areas to explore, is vital in getting people from outside the area to use the system. There are many plans afoot to increase the network, including electrification of the City Line and extension of the lines to Wigan, but Umbrella is advocating a direct link to the city centre from Liverpool John Lennon airport – something that would create a great impression to both business visitors and tourists alike. Another suggestion is that Merseyrail starts making itself inseperable from Liverpool’s identity in the way London Underground is a key aspect of the capital. The commissioning of Centre of The Universe, a map of the network with iconic figures replacing station names, is a good start. Let’s have more of this. But for now, it’s good to see Liverpool beating its rival Manchester in one key aspect of urban life: transport. All it needs now is for Granada and the BBC to make use of its untapped creative potential.
Good ride Merseyrail’s trains have been refurbished over the last few years. Some still carry Liverpool’s Capital of Culture logo.
Covered: Urban rail, Liverpool
02 03 04
A train enters the underground ‘Loop’ north of the city centre Golf on the Sefton coast The entrance to the Wirral Line at Lime Street station The Merseyrail ‘M’ logo and use of the Helvetica font give signs a continental feel The view out of Lime Street The yellow and grey colour scheme is seen at Merseyrail’s refurbished stations
WORDS: ANTHONY TEASDALE PHOTOS: ANTHONY TEASDALE/MERSEYRAIL
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Barcelona: culture and capital as one
na , s pa i n
As all the pieces fall into place, Catalonia’s metropolis can now take its rightful place at Europe’s top table veryone likes Barcelona. Even dyed-in-the-wool Madrileños, suspicious of anything Catalan, will grudgingly admit that Barcelona is an exciting, yet livable city, though they won’t extend their compliments to the people. “Too focused on money,” they’ll tell you, “not as friendly as us.” In truth, despite the attempts by Catalonia’s Autonomous Community and the city council, Barça doesn’t feel that different to neighbouring Spanish cities like Zaragoza and Valencia. The region has just become the first in Spain to ban bullfighting, but it’s only when you get out of the urban area that the sing-song Frenchmeets-Portuguese-sounding Catalan is, to Umbrella’s ears at least, widely heard. Independence from Spain is something talked about regularly here, but you get the feeling that if it came, the city would lose much of the air of respectable rebellion it’s had since the civil war. And, anyway, who would Barça play at football? Espanyol? First-time visitors tend make for La Rambla, the pedestrianised spine of the city centre, which with its surfeit of bad burger bars and African prostitutes soon loses its appeal. However, it is a useful way of dividing inner Barcelona between the Barri Gòtic and the seedy but “lively” El Raval. For such a central area, it’s amazing that much of this quarter is undeveloped. Sure, there are some galleries and trendy bars, but much of it is still down-at-heel and occasionally threatening. Now, almost uniformly settled by immigrants, you’ll find children playing within close proximity to one of Barcelona’s least appealing red light areas. This is not a place where kids should be grow up. The Barri Gotic is something else. The oldest part of Barcelona (though it was only given its present name in the 1920s), its seemingly endless maze of streets is crammed with bars, shops, clubs, restaurants and that fixture of the modern life, the dodgy mobile phone store. Even though tourists throng its carrers – as they have for the last 20 years – you can still find the soul of the city in its bars, where old men munch pinxtos and pa amb tomaquet, while supping on glasses of lemon and lager, a peculiarly local beverage. In terms of eating, the choice is endless, but Umbrella is especially keen on Los Caracoles, home to one of the most mouth-watering displays of rotisserie chicken we’ve ever seen. A Barcelona staple, its giant portions and unfussy dishes encapsulate the Catalan way of eating. We’re also keen on Can Culleretes, the oldest restaurant in the city, tucked down an alley off Carrer Feran. Open since 1786, it’s staffed by the sort of exquisitely coiffed middle-aged women you only see in Iberia. Fashionable, it’s not, but the roasted lamb and enormous portions of baccalau are timeless in the way that good food should be.
Away from La Ramblas, Umbrella is still enchanted by Eixmaple (‘the Extension’), the area to the north of the Placa Catalunya, laid out in a grid pattern at the end of the 19th Century. Of course, you’ll visit to look at the buildings designed by Gaudi or pop into Loewe for some upmarket luggage, but it’s the everyday shops and bars that really do it for us. We can’t think of many better food stores than Colmado, which takes the art of window presentation to another level. Has tinned fish, that Iberian staple, ever looked more appealing than here?
While in the past, Barcelona has felt unfinished, there is a solidity to the town these days, a feeling that most of the work has been done. Since the Olympics of 1992, so much has been invested here that it feels increasingly like a true European powerhouse. The extensive Metro connects the different parts of the city effortlessly, though the outer suburbs near the airport still look forlorn and forgotten. What happens to them is surely the next challenge for the Ajuntament de Barcelona. But for now, Visca el Barça!
01 Going underground Barça’s Metro is just the ticket Barcelona’s transport system is second-to-none. Even though the city’s population is half the size of Madrid (1.7m to 3.5m), the Metro boast 11 lines, the first of which was built in 1924. We’re especially excited about the work on Line 9, which, when it’s finished, will be 30 miles long – all of it automated. Even though the trains work well, the system doesn’t have the architectural clout of the London Underground or Berlin’s fabulous U-Bahn. We will, however, admit to loving the Trambaix – a truly 21st Century transport solution that connects the city to Baix Llobregat.
02 Espanyol New home, new direction? They may be four-times Copa del Rey winners, but Espanyol have laboured under the shadow of FC Barcelona since the former’s foundation in 1901. Up until recently, the club played at the soulless Olympic Stadium, but last season they moved to the Estadi Cornellà-El Prat, the beautiful 40,000-capacity ground near the airport. While it’s less than half the size of Barça’s Camp Nou, it’s traditional shape encourages a passionate atmosphere from the fans of the city’s Castilian club. Hopefully, they’ll be able to mount a serious challenge for a Europa League place in the coming season.
Words: anthony teasdale Pictures: istockphoto.com
Covered: Barcelona, stadium design, transport
40 Field trip
Be-spoke London’s cycle hire scheme has been a success, but unless it expands from the central zone, it’ll be seen as a token gesture.
Britain: still in first gear London’s cycle hire scheme has grabbed recent headlines, but is the rest of the country ready to follow suit and embrace the bike? John Johnston investigates ith his usual boom and bluster, London mayor Boris Johnson unveiled the snappily-titled Barclays London Cycle Hire Scheme this summer. With only two per cent of travel in Britain taken by bike, compared to the 54 per cent by car, the scheme has to be commended for trying to get people back in the saddle, but does it go far enough? Umbrella looks at what the capital and other UK cities are doing.
London London’s cycle scheme is one for the austerity age; never has the freedom of a bike felt so constrained, with the scheme opening in a smaller area and with less bikes and docking stations than its successful Parisian counterpart. Without the docking stations being near the capital’s major train stations, will it ever be truly adopted? Unlike Paris, the cycle scheme also
lacks a concrete plan for expansion or funding, meaning it may struggle under its own success. With Barclays emblazoned all over the bikes and the new ‘cycling superhighways’ bearing tarmac in Barclays blue, it’s also hard to not feel as if you’re trapped in one big advertisement. With so much practicality and corporate branding draped round it, the scheme has lost any chance of charm that could have endeared it to Londoners’ hearts. London’s main problem however is something that all UK cities have to cope with. The road layouts are a by-product of our love affair with the car and neglect both pedestrians and bikes; while the contempt of London drivers means cyclists have to fight for the road. Mayor Johnson has envisioned the ‘Boris bikes’ to replace the short town journeys we take by bus or taxi and by merely being present on our streets, the cycle scheme holds hope that the city is finally getting on the bike’s side. We’ll see.
Glasgow The opposite end of the country has also seen mixed results with its cycling plans. “The city centre has some of the best parking facilities in the country,” says David Holliday, cycles and public transport planner with Cyclist Touring Club (CTC), and a Glasgow cyclist since 1976. “The important thing is for more people see cyclists because the more they see, the more they think they can do it for themselves.” Glasgow is also aided by ScotRail’s decision to allow bikes on train journeys, allowing cyclists to integrate their short and long journeys far easier than most of the United Kingdom. But while the council has considered the dots, the lines between them don’t run quite as smoothly. Glasgow’s road layout is notoriously bad; designed with a future of high speed intercity car travel in mind that never materialised. Add to the mix the poor state of the roads and you have an environment that’s hard for cyclists
Covered: Cycling, UK transport to overcome. “I broke my hip in 2001 after hitting a pot hole in the city centre,” David says. “Nine years later it’s still there.”
Newcastle Newcastle’s transport policy manager Gary MacDonald seems rather upbeat on the subject of cycling, even after the transport budget was forced into cuts of £1m this year. “We managed to safeguard the city’s cycling budget,” MacDonald says, “and with a cycling forum every two months we’ve got plenty of proposals coming through.” It doesn’t take long talking to him to see that the Newcastle is taking cycling seriously. Gary knows the problems lie within the city centre, where the routes and safety drop from the outer areas of Newcastle. To get more people riding in the centre however, the traffic system and attitudes need to change. The council has sensibly not tried to go it alone – instead enlisting the help of Newcastle University and Newcastle Primary Care Trust (PCT) to help enhance the north-east capital’s cycling provisions and bike security, though the future of any plans lies with the fallout from the coalition Government’s recent Comprehensive Spending Review.
Manchester Manchester suffers from a road layout that puts the car first. The re-development of the city has gone some way to change that but there is a distinct feeling of opportunities lost. The city council so far seem more interested in long-haul journeys between the satellite towns like Bolton and Wigan to the city centre rather than the short journeys that London’s cycle scheme is targeting. While any cycle route is welcome, Manchester needs to look hard at itself. Hope in Manchester lies with the dedicated fashion set around the Northern Quarter who
have adopted the bike far quicker than the rest of the city and with media companies and institutions like the BBC moving to the area, the pressure will increase on the council to put the bike first.
Leeds Leeds is much like Manchester and Glasgow in that it has a motorway running through its heart and subsequently a road network geared towards motorway speeds. It seems the former industrial cities were never designed with people in mind. “We want to get people in from the outskirts to the centre more easily,” transport strategy manager for Leeds city council, Andrew Hall tells Umbrella. “We’re developing a cycle network along key routes and focusing the various cycle lanes and tracks and parking places to encourage this.” The first two stages of the plan are nearly ready to launch, but Hall says that the remaining phases will depend on what the comprehensive spending review will bring. One major positive for Leeds is the linkage with the central rail station, where a cycle hire scheme, parking facilities and bespoke bike care and advice has seen the bicycle become the next part of the journey for many rail passengers.
Liverpool The Merseyside Local Transport plan is a scheme that has run since 2006 with £230m of transport investment county-wide. The scheme
is much like the plan in Manchester; to get linkage from the outer-areas into the city centre. The main concern however is that the plan ends in 2011 and any future investment may be difficult to come by. Bike security is also an issue in the city, though the council is constantly looking at ways to improve this and a deal with the local PCT aims to generate a 10 per cent increase in trips by cycle before March of 2011. With the current investment plans due for renewal, Liverpool’s problem lies with future funding issues, but the horizon is a little brighter with the presence of a dedicated network of cycling groups fighting the cause.
Birmingham A 2008 proposal to bring Paris’ vélib scheme to Birmingham has quietly gone away, with city council cycle planner Graham Leonard stating that the council is, “looking at what’s happening in London and will see if it’s something that can work in Birmingham”, which sounds slightly ominous. The city, perhaps more than any other in the UK, is crammed with multi-lane roads designed for the cars coming off the motorways. Road maintenance has suffered under budget cuts and the cold winter of 2009/10 meant that conditions have worsened. Birmingham has made efforts for the bikes, with cycle routes running along some of the nicer routes and to the fringe towns, but it has to re-consider the road hierarchy. Something that will be harder in the ‘city of the car’ than anywhere else.
While the UK sold itself to the idea that car journeys of the future would be high-speed affairs, planning cities like they were machines, many parts of Europe never fell out of love with the bicycle. Oslo and Copenhagen are often cited as the ideal examples due to the fact that, well, they’re the ideal. They’re cities built around people, not factories and services, and their wide open roads and beautiful living spaces mean that the bike is free to roam, while places like Amsterdam carry a simple naivety as you watch its citizens whizz round on beautiful bikes – naive that is, until you realise they’re whizzing past brothels. London and other UK cities will always have to look on enviously to these European countries that were seemingly right all along, but can take a lot away from the schemes implemented in places like Berlin and Paris, which have found it easier to re-engage with the bicycle. Paris’ vélib scheme or ‘freedom bike’ to those lingually lacking, has been a success that Paris fell in love with because it was ambitious and full of little problems that the French always find endearing. The municipal bikes look as if they have been taken from a vintage Chanel collection, quickly becoming dernier cri. Although they may be a bit
worn in, they still sit beautifully within the city’s aesthetic and the wear and tear has only served to bring Parisians closer together, with little token gestures like turning the saddle round if the bike has developed a fault showing that riders are courteous to one another. With its wide boulevards and avenues and separate side lanes converted to cycles lanes, Paris also feels more affectionate to cyclists. Rarely will you find yourself going toe-to-toe with a lorry like you will in London and on Sundays the roads and bridges along the Seine are closed to cars. This sense of change and accommodation can also be found with Barcelona’s bicing scheme, with the launch back in 2008 changing the city’s infrastructure with the introduction of 80 miles of bike lanes, the enlargement of pavements and lowering of the city speed limit to 18mph. The model in Barcelona shows that for a cycle scheme to truly work there needs to be a reorganisation of traffic hierarchy, something that any future expansion of London’s cycle scheme needs to address. And change the name from Barclays London Cycle Hire Scheme to something else, please.
photography: matt reynolds
42 Field trip
Wheely good Tokyobike make cycles that are almost too beautiful to take out onto the streets
Big in… Tokyobike has forged its reputation in elite UK cycling circles, but in Japan it’s the number one bike brand in the country.
he best bits of design always work on two levels – form and function – but not always on two wheels. Bicycles, by their very make-up, all have certain features (they’ve all got wheels, handlebars, pedals etc), so it’s the little things that make a good one stand out. Tokyobike, whose British showroom is in King’s Cross, London, produce such machines – lightweight bikes ideal for eating up busy urban streets. They also happen to look rather fantastic. The company says, “Tokyobike frames are built with Cr-Mo steel, which is both stronger and more flexible than the aluminum alternative and results in a more comfortable ride and a longerlasting frame. The 650mm wheels have a finer profile than typical road bikes, reducing weight and allowing the rider to enjoy a smoother cruise.” Designed in Japan, the bikes come in a range of styles, from the nine-speed ‘Sport’, which reminds Umbrella of Raleigh’s classic ‘Arena’ racer of the 1970s, to the Dutch-style ‘Promenade’, ideal for a leisurely cycle around one’s local canal. Very much tuned in to the world of blogging and temporary retail, the company had a pop-up shop in London’s Spitalfields during the summer and plan for more in the future. A move out of the capital for its next one would be ideal, showing great bicycle design can survive in other places aside from London. www.tokyobike.co.uk
Covered: Cycling, Tokyobike
WORDS: ANTHONY TEASDALE
Over the summer, Tokyobike opened a pop-up shop in London’s Spitalfields. It became a riders’ hangout.
44 Field trip
The island at the centre of the world See New York come alive in this photographic history of the city as there a city more suited to photography, than New York? The invention of the art form coincided almost exactly with the city’s expansion in the mid19th Century, a period that saw it go from far-away colonial outpost to the capital of the world. Whether it was the countless ethnic groups and nationalities that flooded through Ellis Island and never got further than the Lower East Side or the skyscrapers of downtown that relentlessly devoured each other up until the 1970s, New York has always provided photographers with an endless array of subject matter. No book has ever demonstrated this better (to our knowledge at least) than Taschen’s New York: Portrait of a City. Beginning with the earliest known snap of the city (taken in the 1840s) through to the mass immigration of the 1900s, Cotton Club-era Harlem and the devastation of September 11, 2001 – this is a beautifully told tale. Today, as New York reluctantly relinquishes its status as Planet Earth’s number one city (to be replaced by Mumbai, Beijing?), its citizens and admirers can flick through the 560 pages of this oversized tome and reflect on a metropolis that changed us all forever. Very much our kinda town.
Covered: New York, photography
West life Turn to page 48 to read the story of NYCâ€™s Hells Kitchen.
New York: Portrait of a City is published by Taschen, priced ÂŁ44.99. www.taschen.com
Stories Journalism from the front line of the modern world
west side story
How Hell’s Kitchen, Manhattan’s last blue collar quarter, finally succumbed to New York City’s stifling gentrification
52: The mods of Belfast: fighting for nothing but quality tailoring 54: Fiction: slaughter in the air
Dodge city Originally dominated by the Irish, the neighbourhood of Hell’s Kitchen became known for boxers and bootleggers.
There goes the neighbourhood New York may be safer and more prosperous than ever before, but, as John Mackin discovers, the price for this is a Manhattan that is devoid of creativity and starved of character, even in the last great working class quarter of the island, Hellâ€™s Kitchen
Covered: New York, urban history “New York, New York: it’s a wonderful town; the Bronx is up and the Battery down…” onderful? Nah! New York City is a magnificent. So what if it lacks the historical grandeur of Rome or the stylistic grace of Paris. Fuggedaboutit! As the subway guard coolly announces as the train pulls into the platform: “Times Square and 42nd Street: Crossroads of the World.” From Harlem in the far north to Chinatown in deep, downtown, and from Greenwich Village on the west side to The Bowery in the east, the Manhattan of our collective dreams is a city drawn from the movies: The Cotton Club, Crossing Delancey, After Hours, The Godfather, 42nd Street, Taxi Driver, The King of Comedy, Annie Hall, The Sweet Smell of Success, Bringing Out The Dead, The Apartment: each deposit us on the streets of these contrasting neighbourhoods; these often-adjacent, conspicuous enclaves of cultural identity. It’s the very diversity of the neighbourhoods of Manhattan that, like a patchwork quilt, give the city its colour, its chiaroscuro, and to outsiders its very identity. Or at least they did. You want to chase down a bookie’s runner and grab some meatballs with spaghetti: then head for Lafayette Street in Little Italy. You want sausage and sauerkraut? Then take the 6 train up to Yorkville on the Upper East Side, knock twice and ask for Gerd. Fortune Cookies and Chop Suey, or a $10 Gucci handbag? Then it’s the inscrutable warren of noodle houses round Mulberry and Canal Streets. If you can handle the schlep uptown then it’s jazz, soul food and the brotherhood of Farrakhan up across 110th Street, deep in Harlem. And at all stops in between there’s a Little Korea or a Little India, The Bronx, 42nd Street and Broadway. Emerging onto the pavement from each subsequent subway station is like arriving in a new country, or at least a new city. Well, it used to be like that. If it still is, in any way, then it’s due to the diligence of local entrepreneurs hoping to cash in on the busloads of tourists keen to experience the New York of their own celluloid dreams. Some would say they’re 30 years too late. Romantics would have you believe that when New York began its climb out of the social and economic turbulence of the 1970s it began to lose its soul. These are usually the kind of people who’d rhapsodise about the slum neighbourhoods but never had to live in one. People like me. I miss the old New York - the real New York. And I never went there. Today’s Big Apple is a city of steel and glass spires, glistening in the sunshine. Pavements are clean, the police friendly, and there’s a Starbucks on almost every corner. Everyone wears neat sneakers and has teeth like Jerry Seinfeld. You can even use the subway after dark. The Guardian Angels have all gone home and Travis Bickle has been sectioned. In the 21st Century, you feel more at risk during kicking-out time in the English shires than in New York City; and who’s the city’s guiding light and social ringmaster? Donald Trump. Enough said. The Rotten Apple of the ’70s, the malodorous citadel of power cuts and garbage strikes, of fiscal deficits, spiralling murder rates, rampant heroin addiction and vacant lots may have been the nadir for the city economically, but it gave birth to The Ramones, Kojak and Studio 54. You could still score crack on the pavements of Times Square outside the porno cinemas, and ordinary working folk could still afford to live in the brownstones, sitting on the stoop in their vests on a summer’s evening, watching the kids using fire hydrants as water cannons during asphaltmelting heatwaves. The City of Dreams. Who loves ya, baby? The neighbourhoods are still there, but they’re cleaner, they’re safer and they’re… well, they’re upmarket, almost-deliberate pastiches of what they once were, effortlessly. Coach parties disgorge tourists onto the Harlem pavements at Sylvia’s for a Harlem Soul Food Experience: chicken and grits, biscuits and gravy, accompanied by – admittedly
very accomplished – Gospel singing. But it’s all too contrived. What’s a celebration of culture to some, is cynical to others. It’s a theme park, as naff as a British medieval banquet with jesters and busty serving wenches. It’s both self-reverential and self-referencing but most damningly, it’s New York playing to the gallery; New York pandering to the tourists. And that’s the nub of the issue – it is definitely not the New York way. A recently arrived Chinese immigrant wouldn’t dream of eating in Chinatown with the out-of-town rubes or if he did he’d order off-menu. And that family from Ohio sitting behind him would never guess that a snake was being strangled in the kitchen to cater for his authentic rural Cantonese tastes. This is Disneyland Chinatown. Real Chinese food is more readily available in the outer borough of Queens – with not a spring roll or sweet and sour sauce in sight. It’s also where those Chinatown waiters will be living. As the waiters, the chefs, the shop girls, bar-tenders and bus drivers head home to Brooklyn, Staten Island and the Bronx each night, the city changes from a working blueand white-collar metropolis into a Vegas-style pastiche. Manhattan is being abandoned to the tourists and to the wealthy professionals who in times past fled the grime and the noise for the sea breezes of Long Island and the leafy Hudson Valley ’burbs. I blame programmes like Sex in The City and Friends myself. The net effect is that real people just can’t afford to live here any more, as New Yorker Justin Sharon, born and brought up in Harlem, explains. “There’s definitely a feeling that things ain’t what they used to be in the Big Apple. Ironically, it was an Italian, Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, who broke the back of the Mafia. And Times Square (or ‘New Times Square’ as it’s now known) has been Disneyfied to death, nothing like the old seedy Midnight Cowboy days. Bill Clinton now keeps an office in Harlem and there’s the incredibly expensive upscale grocery store Whole Foods (mockingly called ‘Whole Paycheck’) in the Bowery, which was the infamously poor immigrant Skid Row of yore. The Meatpacking District, on the far west side of downtown, which used to be a no-go zone, home to trannies and drug dealers is like Miami with the nightclubs.” Hell’s Kitchen* may very well be the last authentic neighbourhood left in Manhattan. But hurry, as it’s disappearing as fast as the Greenland ice cap. In 10 years it may all be gone and you’ll be standing in a puddle outside Foot Locker. Hell’s Kitchen is the area of midtown Manhattan between 34th and 59th Street, west of 8th Avenue. That’s roughly from the south end of Central Park at Columbus Circle down to Madison Square Garden and over past 12th Ave (the West Side Highway) to the Hudson piers where the immigrants poured off the boats and into this neighbourhood in the 19th Century. And it’s this that gave the area its distinctive edge – it was always a rough and tumble place, where a readiness to use your fists was essential in order to survive. In the city’s burgeoning years it was predominantly a first generation Irish and Italian ghetto, characterised by the tenement slums, poverty and vicious street warfare as rival criminal gangs fought for control of the streets. It’s the neighbourhood that the young immigrant Vito Corleone made his home and cut his criminal teeth in Godfather II and where the Sharks and Jets clashed in West Side Story. It’s the urban nightmare of Bringing Out The Dead; pitch-black canyons of crack-infested tenements and sleaze wherein Scorcese created a dystopian urban hell as painted by Goya. And yet a few years later, a few short blocks east of here, there’s a Disney Megastore on 42nd Street. The rain that Travis Bickle hoped would one day wash all the scum from the sidewalk did indeed come: but it was the property developers that cleaned up the streets, not crazed vigilantes. But before the purge began, the tenements and piers, the factories and bars, the cheek-by-jowl association of hard labour and hard living
‘this was the place that a young vito corleone cut his criminal teeth in’
made Hell’s Kitchen the ‘Noo Yoik’ of myth and legend. It was the backdrop imagined by a thousand art-directors and comic-book illustrators. The Irish colonised the area in the late 19th Century, ousting the Afro-Americans, and set to work making the Hudson piers their own. There was money to be made in these docklands, and where there was money there was soon a thriving underworld. In the early 1900s, impoverished Italians from the Mafia-infested southern peninsula also landed here. No strangers themselves to grinding out a living in grim circumstances, they soon banded together to look after their own, much as the Irish had done half a century earlier. There began a 50-year battle for control of the streets. The mix was explosively shaken up with the arrival of Puerto Ricans in the 1950s. The struggle became so renowned that it found worldwide fame just a few blocks away on Broadway in Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim’s 1957 musical. The film version of West Side Story was filmed in 1961 around 65th and 69th Street, between Amsterdam and West End Avenue, just to the north of Hell’s Kitchen. As they filmed, the area around them was already undergoing demolition in readiness for the new Lincoln Centre for The Performing Arts. The neighbourhood’s mean streets were replaced by an ultra-modern opera house. And so it began. Redevelopment meant construction. And construction meant big bucks for the organised crime gangs. The mob-related terror reached its peak in the 1970s and ’80s when Hell’s Kitchen became the city in microcosm: squalid, dangerous and corrupt, yet visceral and alive with possibility. If you could wield a gun or a guitar to effect then you had a chance. The gangs chose the gun. The neighbourhood was the traditional home of The Westies, a tightly-knit and ultra-violent Irish-American gang. The construction of the Jacob Javits Convention centre on 11th Ave, between 34th and 38th Streets saw increasing interest from the Genovese Italian-American mob, despite the project being on the west side and under the Westie control of boss Mickey Spillane – respected as a traditional ‘Godfather’ figure in the community. However, leading Gambino mobster Anthony ‘Fat Tony’ Salerno conspired with one of Spillane’s trusted underlings, Jimmy Coonan: if Spillane could be replaced by Coonan, then the Gambinos would move in and run the site, giving Coonan a generous ‘taste’ of the proceeds. Coonan hired an ‘associate’ of the Genovese to eliminate Spillane’s captains in Hell’s Kitchen. With his West Side supporters dead, Spillane – who no longer lived in the area – was effectively ousted. Coonan went on to request that Roy DeMeo, a Gambino soldier, murder Spillane. This gave Coonan and the Gambino’s undisputed control over the new construction rackets during the building of the Convention Centre, Madison Square Garden and the Colisseum. This move into construction was deemed vital due to the long-term decline of the docks and the traditional sources of revenue. The demographic of Hell’s Kitchen was slowly but inevitably changing, and as the working-class Irish Americans left the neighbourhood in the ’80s and ’90s, so the Westies’ influence waned. After numerous convictions in the 1980s they continued on a smaller scale as contract murderers for the Gambinos, until John Gotti’s conviction in 1992. The displacement of the century-old Irish community was hastened by other factors. The Ninth Avenue Elevated train, which had blocked out the sunshine since the 1890s, as well as filling the air with cinders, sparks and smoke (as graphic a metaphor for Hell if there
ever was one) was dismantled in the 1940s. Suddenly, the air was breathable again, the streets almost pleasant to walk in. The ‘El’ had blackened the environment to such an extent that for decades new buildings on 9th Ave had their main entrances built on the side, street-facing elevations rather than their Avenue frontage. The proximity to the Theatre District also hastened the decline of the traditional blue-collar neighbourhood. Method-acting guru Lee Strasberg’s Actors Studio on West 44th St drew an artistic crowd into the area, attracted by low-rents and the short walk to Broadway’s theatres and studios. Ninth Avenue was also becoming renowned for the diversity of its food culture and in 1974 inaugurated an annual International Food Festival. Meanwhile, West 46th Street was becoming ‘Restaurant Row’ to service the hospitality and dining needs of nearby Broadway. The image of the area was changing. Residents became keen to boost the area’s prestige, and with developers looking to promote their investments, they campaigned for a more respectable identity for the neighbourhood. As the old bluecollar streets were squeezed by uber-hip Chelsea in the south, and the genteel Upper East Side to the north, and with the Midtown Theatre District edging more and more to the west, Hell’s Kitchen was contracting, almost turning back in on itself towards the Hudson River. Money men in the real estate industry, meanwhile, were busily marketing their new opportunities as being in ‘Midtown West’ or more commonly, ‘Clinton’, after former mayor DeWitt Clinton. Writer, broadcaster and long-term Manhattan resident Anthony Bourdain lamented the disappearance of Hell’s Kitchen in the Disappearing Manhattan TV programme: “I honestly thought that Hell’s Kitchen would be the last neighbourhood to go… but it’s going,” he said. At the closure of the infamous Holland Bar (Est. 1927) on 9th Ave at 39th, squeezed out by greedy landlords, he says, “It’s the end of the world as we know it – the last dive bar in New York City… Where am I gonna drink now? When a place like this disappears – what does that say about our society? Old family-owned and -run businesses like Manganaro’s Grosseria Italiana, in the same family since 1893, only survive because they own the building.” Other long-established neighbourhood bars and businesses are likewise falling victim to the incessant demand for property, stoked by a real-estate feeding frenzy. A startling indication of how hot the area has become came in 2004 when the old Howard Johnson Motel on 52nd and 8th Avenue was sold for $9m. A mere two months later, the plot was sold on for an incredible $43m to a property company. Meanwhile, old family-run businesses are closing and moving to more rent-friendly neighbourhoods, often in the outer boroughs. Those that remain are looking more and more isolated, islands of tradition stranded next to franchised coffee-shops and chain fashion outlets, victims of rocketing rents, the symptom of the inexorable gentrification. “We’re losing, in the centre of this city, the working class neighbourhoods. And it’s important that everyone has a place,” said Bourdain. “They’ve taken the Hell out of Hell’s Kitchen.”
‘redevelopment meant construction – and that meant big bucks for the gangs’
*The most widely accepted source of the name of the neighbourhood is the story of Dutch Fred The Cop, a veteran policeman, who, with his rookie partner, was watching a small riot on West 39th Street near 10th Avenue. The rookie is supposed to have said, “This place is hell itself,” to which Fred replied, “Hell’s a mild climate. This is Hell’s Kitchen”
Button-down in a bombed-out town Nowhere was the late-’70s mod revival stronger than in Belfast. And, as Mark Spence explains, it took young people from both the Catholic and Protestant communities away from sectarian violence and into the healthier realms of clothing obsession and musical devotion elfast 1978. On the streets of a city brutalised by years of murderous conflict between its communities, something was beginning to stir. Something that scaled the traditional barriers of religious segregation and existed beyond the clawing grasp of the violence and sectarianism that had ravaged the Northern Irish landscape. And it had more to do with ‘bum freezer’ jackets and French line haircuts than it had politics, paramilitaries or plastic bullets. On November 3 that year, The Jam released the album All Mod Cons. The music press at the time regarded it as little more than 37 minutes and 28 seconds of sinewy, gilt-edged power-pop. To a large section of Belfast’s youth, however, it represented the beginning of a new attitude that they still clutch dear to their hearts and souls. More importantly, it offered them the freedom to be who they wanted to be, to go where they wanted to go and mix with people whom they’d otherwise be exchanging insults and projectiles. They were (and still are) mods. This is their story. Hugh ‘Q’ Burns is a 44-year-old Belfast native. Born and raised in the staunchly loyalist Ballysillan area, he’s been a stalwart of the city’s mod scene since the early days of the late-’70s mod revival, spurred on by Brit cult classic movie Quadrophenia, The Jam and amphetamines. “You can’t underestimate what a powerful thing it was when The Jam released All Mod Cons for a lot of people in this country,” he says. “At the time, ‘The Troubles’ were in many ways at their very worst. It felt like every day there were civil rights marches or someone somewhere was being killed or blown up, but when many of us first saw the cover of All Mod Cons our lives changed. Forever.” Twenty minutes across the city in the nationalist area of the New Lodge, the mod revival had also taken root. Marty McAllister, now 44, author of forthcoming book To Be Someone – Mods in Ireland, and still a fiercely proud mod, remembers it well.
“Back in the late-’70s, times were hard and most people were just concerned with trying to find a way to deal with it all but by 1980 my life changed dramatically. I lived in the street right next to the devoutly loyalist Tiger’s Bay. We wouldn’t dare venture into each other’s areas even though we were basically next door, but I used to see these guys going past my street on their scooters with their lights and mirrors everywhere and their parkas. One day, they just pulled over and started talking to me. It was fascinating. These guys looked incredible. Everything about them was absolutely pristine. I was hooked from that moment.” Peering across the road from Tiger’s Bay itself, the young Protestant mod community also began to accept that whatever was going on in their bombed out, practically derelict city belonged only to them. Not the politicians, who were making it painfully clear what a burden Northern Ireland had become, and certainly not the balaclava-adorned ‘community leaders’. David ‘Sarge’ Sargent, 44: “The mod scene gave everybody a common ground and the city centre represented somewhere for us all to go and hang out and do the things you do as a teenager. Looking back on it now, it’s very strange because we were doing all of this against the backdrop of The Troubles. Not only that, but the mod scene in its essence is very deeply rooted in working class culture and of course during this period we were very definitely ‘Thatcher’s children’. They were hard times but we were having a blast.” Out went the preoccupation with history and in came Fred Perrys, Ben Shermans, parkas, blue-and-maroon blended two-tone suits and, if you were lucky, the odd one-off vintage shirt. Of course, if you had the money a proper tailor-made suit was top of your list. The cheap, mail-order ’60s replica clobber from Carnaby Street was to be avoided at all costs though. RAF roundels, Union Jacks and ‘Mods Are Back’ murals also heralded the return of a forgotten subculture.
Covered: Youth culture, politics
‘I was doing a “mods are back” mural and took a serious beating’
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Mods outside Belfast City Hall in the 1980s Joe Curly and Hugh Burns looking sharp in 1998 Young mods outside various locations in Northern Ireland during the 1980s Marty McAllister (left) and Hugh Burns still looking sharp in July 2010
Mods on the Catholic side of the divide often struggled to justify their lifestyle choice to their communities due to the cult’s traditional imagery and symbolism being firmly entrenched in British working class culture, as Marty McAllister attests. “Carrying off the mod look in a nationalist area was always difficult. One night I was out painting a ‘Mods are Back’ mural and I took a proper beating. Another time, I wore my red, white and blue ‘Jam’ shoes to chapel one Christmas morning! Imagine that! There I am at chapel, wearing a suit, a parka and red, white and blue shoes, walking up the aisle during Christmas Mass! I still remember the looks I got from some people, but to me I wasn’t making any sort of religious or political statement. I was a mod doing what mods do – trying to look my best.” By the early ’80s, The Troubles showed no sign of slowing down and, understandably, small factions started to appear within the scene. Some Catholic mods started sporting green, white and gold bowling shoes in homage to the Irish tricolour, a group called United Mods felt the need to form in order to show there was unity within the scene but the real action was happening elsewhere. A dark and dingy former dance studio called The Delta Club was home to the mods of Belfast, where the DJs would spin northern soul, Tamla Motown and contemporary sounds like Makin’ Time and The Prisoners. By the mid-’80s however, things had changed, with the break up of The Jam a defining factor. The faces in the mod crowd veered off in various directions. Although there were certainly traces of a late ’60s look to be found amongst the seersucker jackets and paisley shirts favoured by the more sartorial former mods who’d discovered The Smiths and
Echo and the Bunnymen, the scene itself had diminished drastically, as DJ Roger Dixon, 41-year-old chairman of the Mods and Sods scooter club in Belfast, remembers. “Around ’86/’87 the whole thing died down dramatically. A lot of people drifted off, then the rave thing came along.” With acid house in the late-’80s turning former Belfast mod DJ David Holmes into a superstar, many mods had found a new haven. For others, acid jazz also hit a home run and in the words of David Sargent represented, “an absolute godsend for mods who hadn’t ventured into the dance thing”. Either way, mods migrated en masse towards the lure of electronic squelches, cutting, scratching, funk and soul of a new era. Then Madchester and Britpop followed. The mods were back. Again. In 2010, with British troops off the streets and their watchtowers pulled down, normal service has been well and truly resumed. Things may be slightly different today, with some mods opting for the readily-available cuts of Stone Island, Original Penguin or Paul Smith, while others will quite happily browse the racks of Belfast’s high end boutique The Bureau. But at their very core these mods remain as dedicated to individuality as ever. So much so that they commission their own tailor from Hong Kong to fly in a couple of times a year to take measurements for bespoke suits with their names embroidered in the lining. Another favourite is the Italian-based company DNA Groove for classic hand-made, buttondown shirts. Above and beyond this though, it’s the attitude that remains constant. The final word rests with the man many would recognise as one of the originals and still one of the best. Hugh Burns: “I love this lifestyle. It means everything. It’s more than just a subculture. There are plenty of people my age doing what I’m doing all over the world but I don’t think I’ve ever met a 45-year-old punk rocker.”
Night Flight As one group of passengers take over a plane, another traveller remains icily calm
e were 700 miles over the ocean when the first bomber stood up. He wasn’t hysterical. There was no “Allahu Akbar,” no shouting, just an aura of extreme competence as he held up the device he’d assembled. I stayed in my seat as I’d been trained to do. I could see the news hitting the faces of the other passengers in different ways. Some crumpled in panic, some fixed into expressions of disbelief and numb calculation as though confronted with a particularly difficult maths problem. I shifted my weight to the balls of my feet.
And just like that, he wasn’t there. He jerked spasmodically then came apart mid-sentence. I saw a blur of movement and several arcs of blood and then he was in pieces in the aisle – his head and right arm no longer attached to his body. A series of gasps rippled through the cabin and one or two stifled screams. No-one could figure it out. The bomb hadn’t detonated, but somehow the bomber had exploded. Some of the passengers began crying while others laughed nervously. They were alive.
Suddenly emboldened, they rushed what was left of the bomber. They argued about what had just happened, trying to ingratiate themselves into the narrative. Then an undercover air marshal materialised, holding his badge up like an amulet against evil, and shouted for calm. Evan, the man next to me, smiled crookedly and refastened his seatbelt. Hours before, the evening had started promisingly. First, the unexpected upgrade from business to first. Then through security in no time at all. No searches, no pat-downs. I must’ve looked like any other businesswoman at the end of a long trip. We even boarded on time. As I sipped complimentary orange juice, the seat beside me remained empty. This was good because I had work to do and I couldn’t afford the distraction. Then at the last possible second, a group of very tall, very pale men and one woman boarded the plane. There were six or seven of them and they looked like an athletic team from some obscure eastern European country. They walked with an easy grace and were exceptionally polite. One of them sat down next to me. He seemed apologetic for taking the seat. He said his name was Evan. He looked like a movie star, but one in black and white. As we took off, he asked if I was travelling for business or pleasure. Strictly business, I said, hoping to put him off. But he was persistent. He asked me about my family. He asked what I wanted to do with my life. I lied about everything, but he didn’t seem to care. He listened patiently, excusing himself periodically once the plane levelled off. Each time he returned he would bring me water or something from the galley. He flirted so shamelessly I almost forgot about the work I had to finish. Then the incident with the bomber happened and the pilot decided to turn the plane around. That’s when it got really weird. Evan said to remain calm. He said it wasn’t supposed to happen like this. He said I would see very little, but to perhaps put on some noisecancelling headphones, for there would be screaming – lots of screaming. Evan said that his kind had been making journeys like this for many years. First on ships and, more recently, on airplanes. The tone of his voice was reassuring if not his actual words. After that, things happened more quickly than the eye could follow. The TSA undercover went first – the female straddling him tenderly before tearing his throat out. Then the pilots were ripped from the cockpit. We heard some of it over the PA. They seemed to be everywhere at once, visible in flashes, then gone. One of the male flight attendants seemed to be helping them; unlocking doors, pointing out pockets of resistance. The cabin lights flickered and went off. Passengers held up seat cushions for protection but the effect was laughable. My pulse was racing. Evan looked at me like he could hear it. His face was a mask of sympathy. He said not to be afraid and I said that I wasn’t. There were rules. It had to be a night flight. It had to cross an ocean. It had to be in winter and of sufficiently northerly latitude to keep the plane in darkness for several hours. Bad weather was preferable. There could be no evidence. He named some famous plane crashes he’d been in. He said he didn’t want me to think of him as a monster. There weren’t many of them left. The books and movies exaggerated greatly. Many of them were even written by people of his kind, to spread a kind of romantic disinformation and dilute the horror of what they did. Things like slaughtering planeloads of people in cold blood. I nodded empathetically. While he told me this I could hear the screaming starting from the back of the plane. He put a cool but reassuring hand on my knee. Then he disappeared again. Each time he returned to his seat he looked a little younger. His skin was subtly tauter and his cheeks more rosy. Evan’s blue shirt was now stained purple with blood, a clean triangular ‘v’ shape where the suit jacket had failed to cover the fabric.
His accent had many different inflections and odd turns of phrase. He spoke like he hadn’t talked to anyone in a long time. He seemed lonely. Whatever was going on in the rest of the plane seemed less important than our conversation. He seemed to want to unburden himself. He explained that his kind had a different relationship with time than we had. His people moved through a slow-motion world where every drop of falling rain could be seen and appreciated. It was a world of unspeakable beauty and grace. They aged, but at a much slower rate. The blood, he said, gave them dominion over time. They could stroll across a busy freeway without any effort or danger. To the human eye, they would appear as little more than a blur. The only real threats to his kind were sunlight and fire. When it came time for the plane to crash, they would step through the slowly twisting debris and slip into the ocean depths. There they would wait for their rendezvous, safe from the sun, safe from fire. I closed my eyes and marvelled at the seemingly coincidental chain of events that had brought me to this place. All of the weeks of questioning simply evaporated. A strange calmness descended on me. I knew now that God had a plan for me. That this – and not the other – was what I had trained for. The plane shook violently. They were dumping fuel and one by one the engines were flaming out. I asked if I could use the toilet. Evan smiled at me like I was six years old. Just keep your eyes down he said protectively. But the blood was unavoidable. There were body parts everywhere. The grey-white plastic of the cabin was smeared with matter. I passed the flight attendant. He sat alone amid the splatter, staring ahead catatonically. Whatever he’d been promised hadn’t included this. He opened another mini bottle of whiskey and poured the contents down his throat. I seemed to be under Evan’s protection. The others let me pass unimpeded. There were only a handful of passengers left alive and they had made a desperate stand in the galley. They screamed at me to help them but there was nothing I could do. One by one they were ripped away. As I picked my way down the aisle I realised something else. Evan trusted me. My cover was too good even for his heightened senses. He hadn’t questioned my handbag or laptop case. Maybe he saw something kindred in us. But something must have struck him as wrong. No sooner than I’d locked the bathroom door than he was outside. Are you OK in there? His voice was all concern. Something occurred to me, he said. What’s that? I said. There are many, many kinds of monster in this world. This is true, I said. Then he laughed in such a way that it took the oxygen from my lungs. The screams outside had died down only to be replaced by arguing. The language was unfamiliar but it was spoken so quickly that it could only be them. I thought I detected Evan’s voice but the bickering soon grew as fast and metallic as the feed from a modem. I could hear them scrabbling at the door of the toilet, trying to find purchase somewhere on the slick plastic. I tried to keep my hands steady as I worked but between the plane’s careering descent and the flurry of activity outside, I had to start over many times. I could hear the flight attendant outside. He told them there was a quick release mechanism to disable the lock. They started snarling for my blood. Evan quietened them down. He asked me if I wanted eternal life and I smiled and said that I did. I remembered what the old imam had told me. When they finally pried the door open, I was ready. I was as calm as I’d been trained to be. I didn’t scream “Allahu Akbar” or do anything hysterical. I just pressed the button and became fire.
“his face was a mask of sympathy. he told me not to be afraid. i wasn’t”
Brett Foraker is a director and screenwriter. He lives in London and LA and tries whenever possible to fly during the daytime
WORDS: BRETT FORAKER illustration: tim green destroywerk.com
Wrapping up warm and looking all the better for it
58: Belstaff waxed motorcycle jacket 60: Garbstoreâ€™s Ian Paley 62: Autumnâ€™s best dark denim 64: Our favourite new coats
Eye mac One of key vintage pieces in this issue is a summer 2006 Mille Miglia jacket by CP Company. More on page 74.
all fashion photography and styling: anthony teasdale
Belstaff 1950s motorcycle jacket From Oi Polloi of Manchester, priced £389 buy
Full throttle ahead, gents The ultimate technical jacket re-release with everything you’d expect from the British/Italian stalwart: waxed cotton, heavy-duty waterproof fabric, press-stud pockets, underarm grommets and the Belstaff check lining
Looking cool, being warm Keep warm by pairing this jacket with unfussy denim, check scarves and leather gloves. Steer clear of chunky knits – let the jacket do the work. Che Guevara did, it was his motorcycling coat of choice
Keep your portions small Essentially a short Roadmaster – finishing at the waist – the coat’s very tailored for a slim-fit. No need to mess around with jumping up or down sizes then
The original technical fibres Belstaff is synonymous with cool. It’s also led the way in manufacturing tough modern fabrics like Belflex (made from nylon) and Belfresh (a breathable, weatherproof fabric)
Complete the look
Upmarket biker You could go the whole hog and dress completely in waxed cotton, but unless you’re spending the winter commute on an old Norton, we’d recommend sturdy brogues, indigo jeans and a fetching college-style scarf. Very dashing.
FYI: original ’50s Belstaff motorcycle jackets fetch a fair old whack with collectors. 1. Jeans by Garbstore, £150 2. Jacket by Belstaff, £389 3. Scarf by Engineered Garments, £60 4. ‘Fred’ Brogue boots by Grenson, £160 Stockists: indigo jeans, twill scarf: www.thegarbstore.com jacket: oipolloi.com brogue boots: www.numbersixlondon.com
Covered: British outerwear, Belstaff
The don of detail Few figures in men’s fashion have had such a profound impact on modern day menswear as Garbstore’s Ian Paley. Natalie Cornish meets the man who strives to maintain Britain’s unique fashion heritage from his base in west London
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Garbstore Mountain Crop parka in royal blue, £335 Garbstore Provencal Hiver jacket, £287.50 Garbstore Mountain Providence parka in elephant grey, £362.50
ondon’s Garbstore might offer a fresh and interesting alternative to the mass-produced menswear that dominates the UK high street, but Ian Paley’s no fashion rookie. Co-founder of the excellent British brand One True Saxon, Paley started out as casualwear designer at Paul Smith, before working for Red Ear, R. Newbold, Thomas Burberry and Levi Strauss. He launched the Garbstore online, and later in west London’s Notting Hill, in 2007.
Umbrella: Do you think British men have got style? Ian Paley: I think they have a unique style. Most countries have a dominant look that the male folk can pull off well. I think here we play with clothing a little better and have less fear of mixing genres. U: Which item of clothing do you love? IP: Sweat pants. I can’t get enough of them. U: What’s the idea behind Garbstore? What does it mean? IP: Very simply, it means ‘clothing shop’. I like the use of the word ‘garb’ because its use is dying out, just like so many other things. In Garbstore, we try and introduce a little heritage mixed with some new ideas. I try and walk that fine line between historian, designer, modernist and fan. My dream is one of constant learning and improvement. U: Japan seems to be a big influence in your designs IP: It’s the quality of the clothing. We can be very good at the look in Europe, but when you peer close, something’s always
Covered: Ian Paley, menswear
missing. In Japan, they study the small things – the exactness of an angled pocket, how many stitches the machine should put out or what type of thread should be used for maximum authenticity. If you really love clothes, then Japan is a mecca, because this ethic translates from the most luxurious right down to streetwear. I suppose it’s like trying to find bad food in Italy – you can’t. Like the French, the Japanese are prepared to pay for good things. U: What’s your shop in Notting Hill like? IP: It’s a very personal space and quite out of tune with standard hype retail. It’s an eclectic mix of 1950s French and Japanese style. A very relaxing, nice place. U: Which British brands do you rate? IP: I really like Folk and 6876. No-bullshit brands from people who really know what they’re doing. U: Are you worried that ‘cool’ people around the world are becoming too similar? Reading the same blogs, wearing the same brands… IP: Some things never change. I suppose what I find disappointing is the mad rush to appear to be definitive. When I was growing up, I was down the pub chasing girls, not sat in front of a computer all day. Seems a little sad to me. U: Is rolling up your jeans with brogues ever acceptable? IP: I think it is, yeah. One can do as one pleases in my opinion – especially in this country. www.garbstore.com
Selvedge operation The best jeans come in one shade of blue only: a deep, dark indigo that looks as good with robust brogues as it does with trainers hen it comes to denim, we’re admittedly a little conservative at Umbrella magazine. Not for us the various washes, rinses and weird embellishments so beloved of high street chains. Happily, ever since Evisu arrived in the mid-’90s with its indigo jeans, the option of robust, well tailored denim has been there, meaning that every man can buy a pair of jeans that will give him years of service. This season, the choice is as strong as ever, as this selection proves.
14oz selvedge jeans by Edwin, £105 buy
‘Chalford’ jeans by Henri Llyod, £65 buy
Covered: Denim, jeans
‘La Haine’ jeans by One True Saxon, £85 buy
Denim chino by Albam, £85 buy
‘Okayama Red’ jeans by Garbstore, £150 buy
Guy Cotten Rosbras coat, £115 or some reason, the French are the kings of smart waterproof clobber. We could blame the weather of the Pas De Calais, but in truth we’ve no idea why it’s the home to the likes of K Way and here, Guy Cotten. This particular GC sailing jacket is made from PVC, with welded seams, elasticated cuffs and a hood that turns with your head, thus ensuring you can cross the harbour road in safety. www.oipolloi.com buy
Covered: Guy Cotten, Nigel Cabourn, weatherwear
Nigel Cabourn Storm parka, ÂŁ575 s there a more respected name in menswear than Nigel Cabourn? Like (the muchmissed) Massimo Osti in Italy, Cabourn has spent his working life collecting vintage clothing for inspiration. This heavy duty parka certainly reflects that. Made from beeswax-coated cotton with a heavy fleece interior, the almost-indestructable jacket boasts an inside pocket that also works as a detachable bag. www.oipolloi.com buy
Henri Lloyd Shanklin coat, £225 ong a favourite with both sailors and chaps in the north of England with a penchant watching association football in silly weather, Henri Lloyd’s professional yachting gear is the pick of its crop. This fine ‘Shanklin’ jacket has a beautiful stand-up collar which negates the need for a scarf, generous velcro fastenings to keep everything tight and a hood with transparent TPU panels for extra peripheral vision. www.henrilloyd.com buy
Covered: Henri Lloyd, Mackintosh, raincoats
Mackintosh Kellas jacket, £560 ou don’t get many brands more comfortable with keeping out the cold and rain than Mackintosh – after all, it’s the company who gave us the word ‘mac’ in the first place. Made from rubberised cotton, this particular model comes with detachable hood, corduroy collar, buttonadjustable cuff and two lower flap pockets, as well as underarm breathers. And it looks dead smart too. www.oipolloi.com buy
Albam reefer jacket, £265 ade in England, Albam’s reefer coat is constructed from 650g melton and lined in Japanese chambray. Sitting just over your jeans’ pockets, features include a high collar to keep the wind out, two handwarmer pockets that fasten with brass press studs and an anatomical sleeve construction for improved movement. Add two chest pockets and a low mobile phone pocket and you’re set. www.albamclothing.com buy
Covered: Albam, Barbour, traditional clothing
Barbour Ursula, jacket, £220 here’s no better country clothing brand than Barbour. And this beautiful ‘Ursula’ coat demonstrates why. Modelled on an old submariner’s jacket, we’re especially keen on its tailored cut. Made from waxed cotton, the jacket’s small studded collar (which you fit a hood to) makes it ideal for any mod who wants to ‘go country’ without looking scruffy. The belt just increases the slim fit. www.barbour.com buy
Grenson Fred brogue, £160 here’s something a little bit raffish about a brogue boot. Crafted by esteemed bootmaker Grenson, these sturdy numbers are very ‘now’ – witness the popularity of brogues with people who were wearing truckers’ caps three years ago – but don’t let that put you off. As fashion fades, style remains and the triple leather sole and tan uppers of these Freds will look good for years to come. www.numbersixlondon.com buy
Covered: Grenson, Gourmet, footwear
Gourmet Diciotto trainers, £85 t’s hard to impress Umbrella’s resident trainer spotters, but when this pair of beautiful long-hair, full-grain suede trabs came in, there was much cooing around our HQ. Extremely comfortable, these shoes look brilliant with jeans or chinos. Maybe it’s the satisfyingly wide gap over the tongue or the ever-so-slightly chunky cupped rubber sole, but whatever, this is a pair of wheels to fall in love with. www.garbstore.com buy
Adidas Gazelle OG trainers, £65 staple on these shores since the mid-1980s (though in truth, ‘Gazelles’ only really became cool around 1990), this pair of trainers follow the original template of the ’70s with elasticated lacing, simple suede uppers and that pristine sole – ideal for a bit of light exercise or some good old-fashioned Saturday afternoon posing. As ever, the experience is heightened by the classic Adidas shoebox. www.numbersixlondon.com buy
Covered: Adidas, Clarks
Clarks Ashcott shoes, £69 hen the occasion demands a shoe, but not something quite as formal as a brogue or an oxford, Umbrella always turns to its Clarks originals. The ‘Suede Ashcott’, orginally designed in the 1970s (and no doubt worn with tartan flares), has a crepe sole and suede upper, ideal for informal meal or places of work with a relaxed dress code. Very Britpop, it’s this sort of shoe that defines UK style. www.numbersixlondon.com buy
CP Company Mille Miglia, 2006 here are few items of clothing as iconic as the Mille Miglia. Inspired by the Italian road race of the same name (the goggles replicate the headwear of the Mille Migliaâ€™s golden age in the 1930s), it was launched by Massimo Ostiâ€™s CP Company 21 years ago. This model from summer 2006 is constructed with cotton, interwoven by threads of steel, giving it a textured, crinkled look. A classic. www.cpcompany.com
Covered: CP Company, F-Troupe
F-Troupe Rambler boots, 2009 here’ll always be a place in Umbrella’s heart for an item that looks as though it could have come from a 1970s hiking trip. F-Troupe’s ‘Rambler’ is one such item. Sturdily constructed – you could certainly wear a pair for a long trek – the shoe’s tanned leather, chunky sole and yellow laces look great with quality jeans and a vintage Berghaus. Happily, there’s still a few about this year. www.f-troupe.com
76 And finally...
Analogue synthesisers love twiddling knobs.” It’s a bit of a conversation-stopper down the pub but I like to get my geek on and start waffling about the oscillating frequencies of analogue sound. It all started with hiding behind the sofa as a kid when Dr Who took on Daleks and Cybermen back in the late-’70s. The mad FX and weird wibbly noises created by the BBC Radiophonic Workshop came from the Roland System 100 synthesiser – also used by Vangelis on the Blade Runner soundtrack. A decade later, seduced by acid house and Orbital’s Chime, I got hold of one of these beauties and fashioned my own sweeping soundscapes on minimal techno tunes. I’m in good company. Cult sci-fi film director John Carpenter used a Moog on his soundtrack to Assault on Precinct 13 and a barrage of bleep boxes on flicks like The Thing and Escape From New York. Roland, Korg, Moog and the gang have shaped decades of electronica… Dancefloor destroyers Hardfloor segued a cacophony of Roland TB 303s for their braintweaking acid monster Hardtrance Acperience on the seminal Harthouse imprint. On the flipside, there’s nothing more soothing for the neurons than surfing the sine waves of classic post-club comedown ambience from the likes of The Orb and the Aphex Twin. Analogue synthesisers are beautiful machines, full of valves and coils that take time to warm up and deliver the true depth of their sound. Software emulators are damn good these days but the purists will tell you that nothing beats a good twiddle.
Words: dan brightmore montage: matt reynolds
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