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John Hawkins
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John Hawkins
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Dressing  - 
 
Still finding odds and ends to go with morning dress for the Derby and Royal Ascot. I'd read somewhere that there was something of a tradition for wearing club ties (albeit that recent photos don't really back this up). Frankly neither versions of my club's tie are particularly becoming, so I thought instead I might instead buy a pair of the club cufflinks, which are pleasingly heraldic, tasteful in tone, and overall not wholly unpleasant.
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John Hawkins
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Dressing  - 
 
Rather a long article for what is supposedly "a one minute ritual", but nonetheless the thoroughness deserves some merit.
A certain gesture we choose to perform, like straightening a necktie or adjusting the shirt sleeve to show underneath the jacket sleeve, can be viewed as being 'absurd' as much as it can be viewed as being 'meaningful'. This dichotomy of seeing something as being absurd while at the same time being meaningful is the very nature of what can be described as a ritual. Angela Carter, in the short story entitled Burning Your Boats, made the point well...
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John Hawkins
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Dressing  - 
 
This week I received a copy of James Sherwood's excellent Fashion at Royal Ascot, in order to brush up on the relevant sartorial minutiae of an event which must surely rival even the Chap Olympiad in terms of the level of care put into the attire of attendees (well, in the Royal Enclosure at least).
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John Hawkins
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Dressing  - 
 
Bought a Winchester shirt yesterday. That leaves me a little over two months to find an appropriate new tie (not the one pictured here, methinks, a little too achromatic for Royal Ascot) and perhaps a new pocket square (most of mine are white, which I find only really works with a white shirt). Naturally the thought of the challenge which lies ahead fills me with delight.

On a tangentially related but less sartorially relevant note I'd also like to buy some new blinds, as these are rather naff.
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Perhaps something in a vernal shade of yellow?
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John Hawkins
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Dressing  - 
 
I am actually planning to venture out into the countryside for a walk over the Easter weekend. Fear not, the motivation isn't a new found interest in healthy living or anything as odious as that. I'm going to Dartmoor, on what is essentially a rural pub crawl, in the hope of finding some genuinely unspoiled and characterful freehouses, which are, alas, a dying breed here in London.

However, it has been pointed out to me that it'll very likely rain this weekend, and although tweed has many virtues, neither being waterproof nor drying quickly once wet are among them. Umbrellas seem a bit inappropriate for a country setting, and I realised having always relied on the aforementioned folding canopy here in the city, I in fact didn't own any waterproof clothing whatsoever.

An initial survey of some modern emporia specialising in attire for "outdoor pursuits" led to all the horror and repulsion you would expect. So of course I wanted something with a bit more of a traditional feel to it. I had recently tried on a Mackintosh at their shop in Mayfair, and rather liked it, but like the umbrella it seemed more an article intended for city use.

Finally it occurred to me to try Barbour, and here I found an acceptable compromise - I didn't quite want to go to all the faff of a wax jacket (and if it wasn't actually going to rain it I'd want to be able to take it off and carry it so as not to unduly obscure the tweed beneath) but instead found this relatively inoffensive raincoat, which was lightweight, and fit nicely over the top of tweed.

For footwear I fared less well, and settled for a pair of horrid looking modern walking boots, having reprehensibly chosen comfort over aesthetics, unaccustomed as my rather delicate trotters are to any kind of physical exertion.

However I intend to carry a pair of brogues which I will quickly change into each time I reach civilisation (i.e. the pub).
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You might find a solution to your regretful walking boots at Trickers: I have a pair of brogued boots from there with commando soles, which have carried me in comfort up gorges in the Lakes and over desert in Helmand.
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A thought which has occasionally crossed my mind is that for most fruit, at some point in history, somebody had to be the first person to try it, unsure whether it might be poisonous. Take the passion fruit, for example. On cutting into it and peering at the contents, the emotion from which it takes its name is certainly not the first I experience. 
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The quote you are looking for is:
He was a bold man that first ate an oyster. Jonathan Swift
Read more at: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/j/jonathan_swift.html
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John Hawkins
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Places to eat  - 
 
We're lucky to have a branch of Tibits here in London, and it's the only vegetarian restaurant in London (other than a couple of Indian vegetarian restaurants) I keep going back to.
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John Hawkins
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Miscellaneous Pursuits  - 
 
I was delighted to discover there is in fact a second racing event as part of the season - Derby Day at Epsom - at which, in the Queen's stand at least, proper standards of dress are required. By which I of course mean morning suits and top hats. So my top hat will in fact get two outings this summer.

It's also a lot easier to get in than the Royal Enclosure at Ascot - no need to be referred by an existing member, just cough up the ticket price and don your topper and tails.

I shall be there on Saturday June 4th, might anyone else be attending?
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I am sorry to say that my father is no longer a member and I am yet to find such a loophole...
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John Hawkins
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Dressing  - 
 
This is the chap who sold me my top hat earlier this week. He seems to know his onions.
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Did you have a chance to try on the gold top hat and pretend that you were an Arabian prince?
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John Hawkins
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Dressing  - 
 
I bought an antique top hat today, apparently late Victorian, and made in Belgium, of all places.
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+Adam Baylis-West haha! Poirot had actually not entered my mind. I suspect the lustre is largely due to the quick polish it was given by the chap in the shop before boxing it up for me. I similarly was subjected to elevated prices for apparently having a "large" head. Which I was a little sceptical about, since they had several in my size, so they can't be that rare. Moreover none of the prices were written down anywhere, and I was apparently given an impromptu 30% "discount". Still, fundamentally I liked this particular hat very much - the curve of the brim, and the inward bowing on the stove pipe. Just the right hint of rakishness whilst maintaining an appropriate air of formality.
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I just received my copy of "Real Ale Leicestershire & Rutland", published in 1977. My Dad was the general editor, and wrote this very prescient excerpt in the foreword on the inevitable decline of civilisation into a bland morass of identical high streets lined with chain businesses hawking bland, generic mass produced tat:

"We are fighting to preserve the traditional choice of both beers and pubs in the face of the modern trend in big business to promote a horrifying sameness that cannot be in the interest of the majority of consumers."
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Ale head of his time. 
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John Hawkins
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Dressing  - 
 
Is it just me, or does +Mr.B The Gentleman Rhymer's most recent offering have a slightly melancholy, retrospective air to it? Is he trying to tell us he believes Chap Hop has run its course?
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You are aware, I take it, of Mr Burke's downtempo electronica side-project? Perhaps it is about to become a project.

... or perhaps Collapsed Lung are re-forming.
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Currently
London
Previously
The Midlands - Tokyo, Japan - Reading, UK - Leicestershire, UK
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Pretending to be posh.
Introduction
Interested in old pubs and bars, architecture, London history, Savile Row, bespoke tailoring, vegetarianism and the occasional bit of contemporary art.
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Software engineer
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  • Software engineer, present
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Pimlico waited a long time for an independent coffee shop - frustratingly I lived here for the best part of a decade, and this only opened a few months before I moved away. So it's definitely very much needed, albeit that the coffee itself is decent, but nothing to get wildly excited about.
Public - a week ago
reviewed a week ago
Based on the location, you'd think this would be a horrid tourist trap. Neither the front of the business (which rather looks like it is trying too hard) nor the website do much to dispel that concern. However (and I believe I can say this with some authority having been to Italy many times) the food here is actually very good. The closest place I can think to it in terms of "concept" would be Polpo - given the name, Cicchetti, it's obviously also drawing on some Venetian influences, and the idea of small plates. However whereas Polpo is an English recreation of an Italian idea, Cichetti is clearly ran by Italians, and pleasingly has a feel of a grand Italian caffe in its decor - particularly with the marble counter, at which we sat. I ordered three dishes - first some baby mozzarella pearls, battered and deep fried. Whilst these ended up a bit too dry for my tastes I have a feeling I'd probably order them again regardless. The star of the show was the pappardelle with porcini and truffles. Really good quality pasta, perfectly cooked, with a wonderfully rich and pungent blend of chunky porcini and truffle shavings. My other dish was some kind of croquettes (it had been a long evening and I didn't pay too close attention to the details on the menu), again with a generous garnish of black truffle shavings. Staff all seemed to be Italian and very affable. Quite a buzz there around 9:30 on a Thursday evening, but we were fortunately seated almost straight away The menu actually in the restaurant was much more appealing than the sample menu on the website, I get the impression it changes reasonably often, and I look forward to going back to try more dishes.
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Public - a week ago
reviewed a week ago
Quite surprised to see a restaurant pop up in this sleepy little corner of Belgravia - in the premises formerly occupied by a little deli / sandwich shop in a very tranquil mews near the Horse and Groom pub. I think it opened around January 2016. It's a tiny restaurant, probably only about 20 covers inside, but there's also a few little tables outside for al fresco dining, which look rather nice. Pleased to see they take their pizza quite seriously, with a sourdough base and tomatoes from Naples along with other specially imported ingredients. Interior decor is mostly rather simple and not much to get excited about (much like many pizzerias in Italy) but the exterior is quite cute, and their wood fired pizza oven is rather impressive. The pizza was well cooked, good texture to the base, with raised edges in the Neapolitan style. If I had one very slight gripe it's that there weren't enough vegetarian options on the pizza menu, but they were happy to adapt (I had the Napolina without the anchovies). Also a decent selection of pasta dishes available. Will definitely go back, it's in such a nice spot, I can imagine sitting outside here on a sunny day would be quite idyllic.
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Public - 2 weeks ago
reviewed 2 weeks ago
Probably my favourite shopping street in London, and therefore the world - an absolute sartorial paradise for shirts, tailoring, and other gentlemen's requisites.
Public - 2 weeks ago
reviewed 2 weeks ago
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Was just daydreaming about the mandilli (silk handkerchief pasta, served with pesto of course) here and was surprised to see I hadn't left a review. Justifiably popular, and pretty reasonably priced - a real Genovese institution.
Public - a week ago
reviewed a week ago
Seems a bit expensive for what it is, especially being self service, although the 10% membership discount takes the edge off a bit. I think they could try a bit harder to provide healthier options - especially the kids meals, and regular grown-up visitors will likely get bored with the lack of variety. Although al fresco dining on the terrace/balcony on the upper floor is nice in theory, in practice it is plagued by pigeons - not really sure what they can do about that. Still, all of that said my daughter seems to like eating here so we keep coming back.
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Public - 2 weeks ago
reviewed 2 weeks ago
It occurred to me ahead of a walking trip that I owned no waterproof clothing, relying solely on an umbrella when in town, which didn't feel like it would be entirely appropriate in the wilds of Dartmoor. So I came here for a waterproof coat, which made for a nice compromise between a traditional aesthetic and practicality.
Public - 2 weeks ago
reviewed 2 weeks ago