Wednesday, 28 July 2010

What the Dickens?

"Any man may be in good spirits and good temper when he is well dressed."

Charles Dickens

Revived by a Page Three girl in yesterday's Sun. At least they claim she said it.

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Le lonely p'tit velo

While at the Rapha Cycle Club I got another look at the little model cyclists they had alongside their model H Wagon in a display cabinet.

From that moment I realised I had to have some of these fellas. A whole peleton would be nice, or even a 200 rider Tour De France dotted along my desktop, complete with support cars and outriders.

And you know the funny thing? I can. Maybe not the exact same ones as in Rapha, because I didn't check the brand name, but after a bit of Googling at home I discovered the majority of these lead models are made by a French company called Norev, who manufacture commemorative TDF-related models.

Rouleur mag also ran a feature on Le P'tit Velos in issue 11 and there is even a book on the subject, they are that popular.

There are a few on Ebay, and the first one I bought turned up today. He looks a bit lonely navigating those rocks on his own, but as soon as I win a few more, he'll have some fellow riders to help him up the Col De Bureau, past the JBL sponsored woofer mountain peak, before beginning the descent at the Millennium Falcon.

To get the full TDF circus in 1:43 scale miniature might take a bit of effort, but come next year I'll be recreating those stages as they happen. Without a doubt.

Monday, 26 July 2010

Abigail's picture

This is something that's been distracting me from the blogging over the past couple of months - the picture I painted for my little Niece.

Those of you familiar with Matt Sewell's work will see where the inspiration came from. I also thank Murakami for the flowers.

This became so much fun to paint that even Lizzie got involved.

Initial reports suggest Abigail is well pleased with it, which is a relief.

Apparently the house is where the owl lives.

Medium: Spray paint, paint pen, acrylic on canvas
Size: 1.1m x 90cm

Sunday, 25 July 2010

Rapha Cycle Club: Nice coffee

So that's that. The Tour De France has pedalled its last mile up the Champs Eleysees after 3,642 kilometres of drama and the odd flat tyre.

I'd planned to catch at least one of the stages at the Rapha Cycle Club in Clerkenwell Road.

We stopped off there for a coffee on Friday, just in time to join the lunchtime crew for the first few yards of stage 18.

That turned out to be fairly uneventful, which was good really because there were too many Rapha oriented distractions for me to concentrate on the TV for too long.

Not least in the basement, which houses an exhibition of historic bikes, from the single speed of the good old days days, to the Garmin Felt carbon beauty from last year's Tour, each with their own little story and related jersey.

It's definitely worth a look, if only to sample some of the tastiest coffee this side of Columbia.

That's the country, not the team.

Oh, and Cav did go that day, somewhat.

Saturday, 24 July 2010

Foot Patrol reopens: So near but so far

We overheard the assistants in Size? in Covent Garden talking about the new Foot Patrol but they're so up their own arses that they wouldn't volunteer any information about it.

Turns out we must have almost walked past the place, because Foot Patrol's new concept store is located on Berwick Street.

To be honest it doesn't look like we missed too much. The new store is essentially a shack within a shop. Which is only a marginal improvement to displaying shoes in cages as if they were lab rats.

Nice to know the Size? staff are as friendly and helpful as ever. I'm just pleased I didn't buy anything from them.

Via Freshness

Friday, 23 July 2010

Arc'Terex Veilance Field Jacket: Rod not included

It's midsummer so my thoughts instinctively turned to my next winter jacket. I'd decided on an M65 - a timeless classic which had been thus far noticeably absent from my jacket armoury.

If I had wanted something accurate to the original US Army pattern I could have turned up an Alpha version, but I was after something a bit more technical. An M65 with 100 per cent water repellency and taped seams.

So my search turned up this - the Arc'Terex Veilance Field Jacket - an updated M65 in powder yellow Goretex Proshell fabric. It's actually from the spring summer collection, but would be fine with a liner and has all these nifty little features like snapless pockets and a 3D moulded collar to ensure a perfect fit.

What's more, the Canadian Arc'Terex has established itself as the premium outerwear brand, beloved of types who prefer to spend their days in a white out halfway up a mountain. It is also the brand that invented many of the features of modern outdoor wear, such as waterproof zips.

I ended up going for a Visvim Bickle, pictures to follow, more because I was after something more true to the original style. My decision was of course swayed by the fact that I have the Pollard insulator to button inside it.

But while I was weigihing up the benefits of the Arc'Terex Ryan sent these images to give me a better idea of the shade of yellow. For a moment I was tempted. But then a vision of a North Sea ea fisherman came into my mind, And at that moment I was decided on the Bickle.

Arc'Terex Veilance yellow Field Jacket available from the Inventory and The Glade

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Rapha Etape Luchon-Bayonne: I'll do it myself sometime this century

The 1910 Challenge from RAPHA on Vimeo.

After the buzz of completing the London to Southend bike ride in such a worthy manner, our thoughts have been turning to our next challenge.

At the moment this looks like it could be the Essex 100 in September. Last year's event was sparsely attended and due to the nature of the climbs and weather conditions, more of an event for the dedicated rider.

Maybe after that we can start to look at the London to Paris and possibly a couple of years from now, we could tackle something like the Etape Luchon-Bayonne.

This particular ride is the subject of the film above, and follows the 326km stage of the 1910 Tour de France. It was the first time the Tour had taken in the Tourmalet, the highest climb in the Pyrenees, and as the Rapha riders will attest, those initial competitors will have had nerves of steel and the determination of mountain goats.

They set off at 3.30am on July 21 2010 - that's 100 years ago today - in the dark with candle lanterns mounted on their bikes to light the way, and fuelled by chickens.

There was no such thing as halogen lamps or wetgear, and even the brakes would have been a bit dodgy. The climbs would have been bad, the descents petrifying.

But they did it and in the process marked a turning point in Tour history.

What's more, the 1910 riders completed the stage in 14 hours. The Rapha team took 16 hours and 5 minutes. Which says a lot for chickens.

If you get a spare 15 minutes today, watch the film, then try and stop yourself from getting on your bike.

Monday, 19 July 2010

London to Southend bike ride: Riding high

All those early morning training rides were put to good use on Sunday as we carved through the lanes of Essex on the London to Southend bike ride.

It had all got off to a rather unpromising start. I woke up to a puncture, forcing me to get a later train. This turned out to be a bit of a blessing when Mark's train pulled out of Stratford, the station at which he was supposed to alight, with him and hundreds of other riders still on it. Our 7.30am start time ended up becoming 9.00am.

I had to feel sorry for Sam. His journey to the start had gone smoothly, only for him to be held up for more than an hour by us.

When we did get going we set a blistering pace, stopping only once to offload the tea we'd taken on board while waiting for Mark.

Somewhere along the route, I think about 25 miles in, we lost the other Graham. He must have popped off the back without us noticing. No word on his fate as of yet.

When we pulled in at the finish in Priory Park Southend, Sam's speedo was reading 3hr 11minutes, and mine 3hr 13mins, so I guess we can call it 3hr 12m.

Not bad for a bunch of amateurs.

PS: That's Sam and myself in the last two pictures, Mark had gone off to find his family.
Pictures courtesy of Lizzie, who came along with my folks to meet us at the finish.

Saturday, 17 July 2010

Kaws Original Fake FW2010: Life after the chomper

I thought Original Fake pulled it out of the bag with the A/W 2009 collection, but they've truly surpassed themselves this time round.

The colours are a bit more subtle and you get only hints of the Kaws roots of the brand.

Which is all a good thing when it comes to Original Fake, because it could very easily have been so different. You only have to look at what happened to Bape to get an idea of what happens when clothing goes cartoon.

Thankfully those little logos are kept to a minimum or otherwise restricted to the other items accompanying the collection, like the 4ft tall Companion dolls. Which is where they should be.

It goes without saying that this stuff is going to cost an arm and a leg, but you can still buy my FW09 mountain jacket at a far more reasonable price here.

Via Slamxhype

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

New arrivals part 4: WTaps scarf

After the success of that WTaps shemagh, which has accompanied me on many an excursion of late, there was no question of whether or not I would bag this when I saw it in the Hideout sale last week.

And what a catch. This is simply a wicked scarf. Subdued enough not to cause too much offence yet blessed with a hue that would warm the dullest of outfits. And it's cotton! So I can wear it now, even with the temperature in the mid-twenties.

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Aquascutum Pritchard Henderick suit: I didn't buy it

Buying a suit is not something one should enter into on a whim. This much I now know following my trip to the West End the other day.

I put the reason I found myself in the menswear department of Aquascutum down to the heat and a lack of sleep. Trying on a suit that was evidently not my size, while being persuaded by an assistant who had decided to tell me his life story, including recently being punched in the face by a professional boxer, that it was a perfect fit.

Granted, the suit, like the one above but in navy with a puppytooth check, was in the sale, at a very reasonable price, and the Pritchard Henderick cut was the slim silhouette I'd decided I needed. The jacket felt quite good.

It was the trousers. They were not just snug, they were so tight that I was losing all feeling below the waist. So tight that I feared I might do myself a mischief with a single step.

This alone might not have put me off buying the suit, especially when Perry, the Cockney ferret of a head of the suit department told me that yes, there might be enough material to let out in the trousers.

He could have salvaged that sale even though he told his wideboy assistant that he had delayed serving me because he thought I was a previous awkward customer making a return.

Perry could even have rescued it after leaving me standing there like a lemon for 15 minutes while he consulted with the tailor about whether or not the trousers could be let out.

But when I told Perry I would like a second opinion from my fiance, it really wasn't best to adopt a look of disdain and then retort: "ask the missus sir? A gentleman doesn't need the missus to choose a suit, sir."

Because a gentleman might not need the missus to choose a suit. But he needs the snide remarks of a fop-haired ponce of a suit salesman even less.

Above all, a gentleman values being spoken to in the manner he would speak to others. And besides, the missus has got a good eye.

I shall restrict my suit buying to those establishments which treat prospective customers with a little respect, and don't insist on pedalling a suit which clearly doesn't fit.

Sunday, 11 July 2010

The great art scam: Part 2

I now know what Lester Hathcote is up to, and the collecting of art from little-known artists isn't it.

The fact that he hasn't topld me a thing about himself is a bit of a giveaway, but not as much as the €2,000 in American Express travellers' cheques that landed on my doormat.

Now even though our Lester claimed to live in Poole, these cheques were sent from Texas, USA. They arrived with not a word of explanation, and only the aforementioned Texas address on the front of the envelope.

They were preceeded by an email from Lester telling me he would send me €2,000 for my £100 piece of art, to which I replied that any cheques sent would be forwarded to the Police. Which I have.

Lester is perpetrating what is known as a travellers' cheque scam. He sends you cheques valued well above the amount you asked for. I expect he will then tell you to cash them, take the money you need and return the balance, if you don't suss out what he is up to.

The cheques will then turn out to be stolen. You will never see the money you sent to him, and you will most likely be arrested for cashing a stolen cheque.

So if Lester has sent you a cheque or cheques, take them to your Police station and under no circumstances cash them.

To keep you updated on the progress of my blossoming relationship with Lester, the latest exchange of emails is pasted below. All of these are now being forwarded to Detective Carol Sartain of Essex Police CID.

You can read Part 1 of the Great Art Scam here

Lester to me June 29 2010

Hello sorry for the late response i have been so busy due to the world cup going on..i hereby inform you of the check to be delivered to you any time soon( the amount on it is 2,000 Euro. Kindly get back to me as soon as you have it.

thanks Lester

Me to Lester June 29 2010

Dear Lester
Any cheque you send will be forwarded to the Police, who have been informed of this correspondence. I would advise you not to waste your time or the cost of a stamp. Kind regards

Lester to me, today, 4:03pm

Hello and how are you doing? kindly get back to me regarding the check with you.



Me to Lester, today

Hi Lester

Your cheques have been handed in to the Police, and all correspondence with you has been forwarded to them. Thankyou for your email. I shall forward this to them also.

If you would like to give me your FULL CONTACT ADDRESS and TELEPHONE NUMBER I will arrange for them to be returned to you.

Saturday, 10 July 2010

Lance Armstrong Livestrong campaign

Lance Armstrong isn't really making much of an impact on this year's Tour De France, but the fact that he's even competing in it at all is proof enough of this man's drive.

He's 39 now, with seven Tour wins, 22 stage wins and a battle against cancer behind him and even if he isn't getting himself to the front of the pack so much anymore, the Tour is all the more gripping just by his presence.

Let's not ignore the fact that Lance is far from lagging in this, his self-declared last Tour. There's every possibility he could add another stage to that win tally yet.

Much more chance of that than catching me wearing Nike cycling gear, that's for sure.

Ursus Bape fall winter 2010 collection

As far as I am concerned, the Ursus line is the best hope Bape has got right now.

I know Bape still has its faithful, and I don't deny I still take a peek in the Bape store whenever I'm in town, but the days of day-glo pyjama prints are well behind us, along with the hours of qeueing on a Saturday for the latest release.

Ursus is unlikely to revive the hysteria, but that's really what makes it so appealing. This is a more grown-up edge to Bape, and one the kiddy gangsta rappers hopefully won't hijack.

You can now get Bape online, here.

Via Freshness