Wednesday, 28 November 2007

The Staple - Throat Spray

Cold Comfort Advice

Unfortunately, it's finally hit me. That fucking cold that goes around the office, gradually taking out your podmate and your boss, but which you seem to stay immune from. I staved it off during the weekend, but three nights of varying degrees and genres of indulgence have done it. My tonsils are back and this time they're bigger than before. I've been through this many times; I've no idea why. I think it might have something to do with a slightly hectic lifestyle, not really eating properly (different types of cheese for dinner and lunch is not a varied diet), but every few months or so, my tonsils suddenly decide to take over my throat and stop anything being enjoyable. I'm always quick to dose up with spoonfuls of honey, Dolitabs (miraculously tasty French paracetomol), vitamin C, Echinacea, Strepsils, Lemsip, and whatever else I have lying around in the cupboards, but this stuff is the best. It tastes so minty that it makes your eyes water; and spraying it into your throat is not the most attractive of propositions, but damn, it's good. It's immediate, portable, and a fetching shade of emerald green. The only bad part is that as I'm writing this, it's in my desk drawer at work; a photo will follow shortly. It's neither glamorous, nor expensive, but this is the one thing that I have for colds that I know is actually going to make me feel better. Once again, Boots prove that they are the best in the land. All hail the pharmacists! Aside from a stinking cold, other Staples this week include:
Antiseptic throat spray
Brora grey cashmere wristwarmers
Obscure Teutonic bleeps from a certain curly-haired mate's iPod
The Big Chill House in King's Cross
Having friends who can help with legal stuff
Hovis 'Seed Sensations' bread
A hot, well-brewed, sweet cup of tea

Monday, 19 November 2007

The Staple - Duvel

An Evening With...

So Saturday night was upon us, and after a little light retail therapy along the python of Oxford Street, we retreated to a good old Sam Smiths. Deciding to reconvene later and East, three of us headed back to mine. Where we stayed, happily ensconsed in pasta 'n' pesto, Duvel (absolutely perfect for an evening in; dark and tasty; a good 'session beer' in DadSpeak) and cheese straws. Who needs the hassle and hustle of the pub when you've got control of the music, - both volume and genre - good beer which isn't £4.50 a pint and comfortable surroundings on which to loll. And some of the best conversation, with no need to get as slaughtered as possible before the bar shuts, and spend valuable time with your mates queueing for drinks. When you realise that there's not anything that really suits your collective mood, and everything is so far apart, take refuge in your own home, chill with mates. It's perhaps a symptom of getting older, or perhaps a little serving of London ennui when leafing through the Guide, or maybe even a rebellion against blowing £40 for a few pints in somewhere vaguely interesting, but I have to say it was a lovely evening. Thanks to the fantastic company of Alvin and Julia, I'm kind of coming around to the idea that staying in, while perhaps is not 'the new going out' (what a vile phrase), but it is, at least, an alternative. Give it a try; it's a mini adventure. Other Staples this week:
Staying in on a Saturday night
Duvel beer
Candie Payne's album 'I Wish I Could Have Loved You More'
A black velvet blazer with an antique silver butterfly brooch
Kiehl's Creme de Corps
Paul Auster's book, 'Moon Palace'
Uniqlo's Pantone knitwear

Monday, 12 November 2007

The Staple - Checkered Scarf

Wrapped in checkered wool

As winter draws in, I am becoming increasingly alarmed at just how cold it's getting. It seems that my confient predictions of an Indian Winter when I bought my Paul & Joe gabardine mac in last year's sales were wrong. It's fucking freezing. I was out at 6am on Saturday morning, and not drunkenly coming back from a night out, but working with friends on a video shoot, and although I had 4 layers on, the cold still got through. Despite this, there's one item which I have had for many years now which has always kept my neck warm. This checkerboard scarf was charity shop gold. A £2.99 purchase from Help the Aged in Ilkley, it's been with me for years, across the globe, up mountains, to festivals and along pretty much every street in London. I am very much a scarf person; summer, winter, evening, day; I feel a little underdressed without a scarf. I once read that a Parisian can never have too many scarves about their person. This is one of the few maxims that I have ever followed; although I do realise the absurdity of it. Scarves are practical, easy to wear, cheap (mostly) and complete an outfit; giving it a certain flair that makes you stand out, particularly in such a dull place as the City. A scarf is a true Staple; ephemeral yet essential, the sort of thing that you buy or find that whenever you use it, it brings a smile to your face. Other Staples this week:
The Hideaway pub in Archway
Andrew Bird's album 'Armchair Apocrypha'
Papier Mâché octopus tentacles
A long woollen checkerboard scarf
Risotto from Strada
The lush colours and gorgeous cinematography of Stephen Poliakoff dramas (yes, I know i Stapled it last week)
A hardbacked paper diary

Sunday, 4 November 2007

The Staple - The Guardian

Weekend bliss

My weekend is never complete without a copy of the Guardian. It has become an integral part of my Saturday morning, waking up, throwing on my woolly hat, jeans and a comfy jumper and heading down to the Hades of Tesco to grab a copy of it, together with a box of croissants and maybe some fruit juice or a bottle of San Pellegrino. Then a hasty retreat back to the safety of the duvet, casting off the street clothes and tearing open the polythene wrapping which contains the newspaper. I go for the Weekend section first, and check on how my favourite columnists have managed with their variously calamitous weeks. Then it's the Travel section for some inspiration and morning reverie; the Guide for more columns and a look at what my ideal week might involve, entertainment-wise; the Work section out of habit; then I gradually work my way through the rest of it, cherry-picking the best pieces, the bits that appeal. An article on Jacques Demy, Diana Rigg's diary, a Sebastião Salgado photo-essay. All whilst dropping croissant crumbs on myself and slurping a cup of tea. In my very humble opinion, there's no more civilised way to start a weekend. And there's no more civilised ending that blogging about it either. Sometimes I do think I have a civilised life. It's terribly nice. And so to this week's Staples:
The Guardian on a Saturday
Mariah Carey's 'All I Want for Christmas'
Aveda for Men hair products
Having a good clear-out
Steven Poliakoff dramas
Black M&S cotton socks
The Crown on New Oxford St.