Thursday, 28 May 2009

The Staple - Colette

- I adore Colette
- The writer or the boutique?)

L'écrivain ou la boutique? Les Deux!

So I took a photo of this tshirt last week; originally as it's one of my favourites and is a pretty good summing up of my feelings for Colette (the author and the shop). But the thing gained a rather more significance as it ended the day covered with blood from me managing to whack a hole in my chin and get 4 stitches. I'm not going to go into details (they're on twitter if you're really THAT interested in my stupidity), but this tshirt - now freshly-laundered and haemoglobin-free - has become even more of a Staple. I bought it in Liberty a good while ago, and it's a Special Edition from 2K by Gingham for Colette's 10th birthday. It's one of my favourite stores in Paris, always with fresh ideas and unusual collaborations; it was the first place I ever found a copy of Fantastic Man, and where one of the lovely (and gorgeous) sales assistants put me on to the genius of Italodisco. Shop aside, Colette is also one of my favourite authors, and as we slide into summer afternoons of reading in the park/on the beach, I urge you to go to your nearest charity shop (or indie bookstore) and find a copy of any of her work. She wrote sexy, beautiful prose about the French urban bourgeouisie dealing with crises only the bourgeouis would encounter. It's so sharply-observed that it's still massively funny today (and relevant; it's oddly surprising how much the East London trendscene resembles Parision salons at the turn of the century) and Colette's obsession with fashion is something any reader of fashion blogs would appreciate. Such was her prominence in French society, she was given a state funeral when she died in 1954. There's so much to go at and it's such fun to read that her writing's guaranteed to keep you amused all Summer. An absolute Staple. Other Staples this week:
Colette (in all forms)
Spending the weekend in Regent's Park - Siam & Ellie are picnic essentials
Plain white oversized tshirts
Blagging your way into a house party
Opening Ceremony IKBlue Shoes
BBQ'd fresh prawns and halloumi
The nobel Mr Ben Mortimer for his Friday night assistance

Friday, 22 May 2009

The Staple - ATP

Minehead Music Mayhem

As summer begins, so does Festival Season. As for the past few years, my holidays are going to be mostly taken up with music-based events across the country; Bestival, Field Day, Secret Garden Party, and doubtless a few more here and there. Last weekend was my first residential one of the summer (Camden Crawl/Turning Point don't count as they're down the road from me); All Tomorrow's Parties. It's one of those festivals with a line-up of bands that 99% of the population wouldn't necessarily know (and I certainly didn't), but also peppered with better-known acts like CSS, Foals and Bon Iver. This particular ATP (there are several throughout the year) was curated by the Breeders, giving it a more mature and more guitar-based slant than I would perhaps have liked, but was still great fun. Having Butlins in Minehead, Somerset as a backdrop certainly helps; it's refreshing to do something other than get leathered once the sun comes up - I screamed like a little girl on the 'Black Hole' water slide - and also to be able to sleep in a proper bed once the day/night of partying is through. And while we saw some pretty fab bands that we wouldn't normally have encountered (Holy Fuck were amazing and seeing Tricky live is mesmerising), the party vibe was continuous throughout the weekend, especially as we had converted one of the rooms in our 'chalet' (more bedsit than alpine ski lodge, but it did have a warmth, shower and electricity) into a disco room, complete with makeshift fridge, laptop/speakers and 'sofa'. The crowd were mostly quite static, but I guess that's to be expected from such a muso-y festival, and we still had a good old dance to CSS and Foals when the tunes hit. Definitely one to go to if you get the chance; the vibe's more relaxed & mature on account of actually staying in a building, but being inside was a definite advantage given the weather, and there's still plenty of people up for a party; we all appreciated the honest, unpretentious fun of a Butlins. Festivals are definite summer Staples, and given the amusement we got out of this ATP, I think we could even be back for the Winter one. For now though, roll on the rest of the summer's fun...Other Staples this week:
ATP curated by the Breeders at Butlins, Minehead
Enterprise car hire's drop-off service (and in-car iPod connectivity)
DJing at a chalet with a laptop/iPod
M&S Chocolate mini-bites
Post-festival saviours: Waitrose smoked-salmon pâté/Kiehl's facemask
Having a brilliant boss for the last 2 years; Adam, you'll be sorely missed!
Delays' second album 'You See Colours' (more iPod-based rediscovery)

Thursday, 14 May 2009


After a couple of insightful wardrobe posts over at StyleSalvage and Menswear, and having a quiet week in preparation for ATP meant that I had time to get through what turned out to be 12 week worths of ironing. It had reached the point where I had run out of work shirts, and as I was planning on having a clearout of my wardrobe, so it seemed like a good time to re-organise. Now I'm fully colour co-ordinated, and everything that's left is something that I've worn recently, am going to wear, or is far too good to give away. I've been through old tshirts (turns out I had a bag of 15 in the back of the wardrobe I'd forgotten about), jeans and next is the jumpers. It's lovely to have a good old spring clean, and nice to rediscover some of the older stuff that I've not worn (in some cases) in years. This is step one, next will be a proper wardrobe that'd not made of white melamine. For now, the colour-coding is enough...

The Staple - Red Nylon Windcheater

Rebel With a Cause

At some point soon, I will stop banging on to anyone I meet about how great cycling around is. I promise. Just let me have this last moment of bicycle-advocacy (not a guarantee). Apart from saving 100 quid a month on a travelcard (more to the tshirt fund), and getting free cardio exercise, it's really energised me all week, made me more awake even on 6.30am starts and pushed me to finally attack that pile of ironing (see next post). It's also made me rediscover the joy of the nylon windcheater. I've been through several of these in the last few years, including a lovely grey one which earned calls from my mates down the pub of 'freelondonlite!', and another so voluminous that i ended up belting it in. This red one, however, was a brilliant purchase - even if I do say so myself. Half-price last spring from Liberty, it's from American sportswear brand PF Flyers, who are better known for their shoes (and have some pretty hot hi-top reissues on their website). It's a classic shape and colour which recalls the iconic James Dean's in Rebel Without a Cause. While marginally more expensive than American Apparel's offerings, it has the advantage of having a perforated lining which gives it more breathability and makes it the perfect cycling jacket. It also has a clever folding system whereby you can stuff the whole jacket into one of the pockets, which makes it great to just throw into my bag in case of rain. And even if it's been packed away for a few days, the wrinkles fall out easily. Basically, it's one of those jackets that you can just chuck on and will look good, but also has a practicality element which for a cyclist is essential, as you always have to be aware of what the weather's doing. And as the weather looks like it's going to be so changeable this summer, something with a bit of waterproofing is going to be a summer Staple. Other Staples this week:
A showerproof red windcheater
Colette's 'Ripening Seed'
Wandering around Marylebone on a Sunday
The Beigel Bakery on Brick Lane; salmon & cream cheese
Discovering new music via blogs/twitter (esp. Plastic Cowboys/MolaSuperPoco/88days)
Full Circle menswear (once it's been reduced in the sale)
Channel 4's surprisingly emotional Lost Children week

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

The Staple - Mini-break With Friends

We're All Going On A...

I've blogged before about getting out of town, but this weekend was so exceptionally good, that it deserves an honourary mention. Now that my parents have moved out of my old hometown (Ilkley, in the unlikely event that you didn't already know), I can't even have a big Xmas Eve piss-up with my mates, and we've always talked about having a weekend together, so this year seemed like the perfect time to get together for the now Annual May Bank Holiday Get-Together. We hired a murder-mystery appropriate mansion just near Whitby for the weekend and spent our time chatting, watching DVDs, paddling (or swimming if you're MAD) in the sea, playing boardgames and drinking Jeeves (aka Pimms). It was bliss. Lovely to catch up with all my fabulous home-friends, and for all of us to leave the real world behind for a stress-free, lazy, junkfoody weekend of indulgence. Getting away from it all is such an essential; although I've always been one to set aside time-out, actual, proper holidays are such a Staple. Something to look forward to, enjoy and return from feeling refreshed. Especially when you're cut off from the phone/internet, and paddling in the sea. It's the first of a few mini-holidays I'm taking this summer (decided that 8 festivals is a little much) and I cannot wait for more...Other Staples this week:
A relaxing Mini-break in Yorkshire
Having the whole of First Class to myself on the train (same price in advance)
Cycling to work
The Final ClubRees@the Fly (but there will be more!)
A big parcel from ASOS
Friendly Fires gig at The Forum
Ultra-large jars of Nutella