Failure Pile In A Sadness Bowl

If I was better at using slang then I would call this struggle blogging. But I’m not so I’m throwing out dated Patton Oswalt references like a third rate AV Club writer. As always I’m trying to make a go of this blog thing but once again I am failing miserably. The Internet is littered with dead blogs with good intentions. That might be good for a Tumblr turned book deal – last posts in failed social media. Word to Moira Stewart’s Twitter game. It I had more drive maybe I’d do it. But I won’t. Another example worth looking at is the 100 Worst Tweeters Tumblr which built up crazy momentum last year but completely petered out after they seemingly front loaded the countdown. We’ll never find out the top ten now. The last post was John McClure of Reverend & The Makers, who it’s fair to say has an absolutely dreadful Twitter.

But this post isn’t about a failed indie musician and his Twitter feed of delusional #realmusicproperhaircuts rants. It’s more about my inability to stick to regular blogging. My major problem is that I have no angle. I can’t really carve a niche of my own if I don’t know what I’m going for. Aside from the meta-whining and feeling sorry for myself, I don’t really have anything new to add to the internet chatter. Every so often I get surprisingly perspective, like this. My best approach is a cynical, sarcastic take but Four Pins exists for that, what they do is pretty much exactly what I would do if I had the time/inclination. Seriously, Four Pins kills it daily. Like, how is this not a perfectly formed take look on #menswear? I give up. The only interesting thing that may come from this meandering sulk of a post is seeing which of the people I’ve mentioned have a Google Alert set up for their name. My money’s on The Reverend.

For the time being, I think I’m going to stick to my life, which is mostly sulking and buying magazines about expensive clothes I can’t afford. Maybe throw out some posts about my shirts. I recently bought a couple of really nice vintage flannel shirts, so that could be something. Anyone want 500 words about curved yokes and cigarette pockets?

Lightning Steak

I was recently going through my magazine pile and found what has to be the weirdest magazine I own. Unsurprisingly, it’s from Japan. If you Googled “weird Japanese magazine” you’re going to be disappointed. It’s not that kind of weird. Japanese magazines act more as catalogues, and see no problem in blurring the line between advertising and editorial content. Pretty much every subject or subculture has its own dedicated title. Lightning, one of the more famous exports, is dedicated to denim, workwear and Americana, and covers anything that could fall under that umbrella. I think it’s partly funded by The Flat Head, which is why they cover so much of their stuff over other brands. In addition to the regular monthly editions, Lighting also publish irregular supplements on specific subjects, rather than just clothes. The one I own is all about steak. It is 150 pages of pictures of steak restaurants in Japan (plus one in America). As a non-Japanese speaker, I have no idea what they’re talking about, but as it’s 80% pictures it’s possible to work out what’s going on.

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Each restaurant is categorised according to type. They then feature a photo of the signature steak dish, a step by step guide to the cooking process and a couple of sides. They also give you the measurements of the meat (I know), should you want to make sure that you’re not getting ripped off. The issue is curatated, if that’s the right word, by this guy. I don’t know who he is, but he is pumped to be eating all this steak. According to an advert at the back, he also appears in magazines on burgers, yakiniku and a second steak issue. On the subject of advertising, on the back page there’s an advert for Googies Cafe, a 50s style diner in Nangano, which happens to be owned by The Flat Head. Blurring that line. His t-shirt says ‘Meat Solider’.

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The only thing I can draw from the magazine is that the Japanese like steak as much as everyone else. Most of the meat on display is pinker and fattier than your typical western meat, which suggests it may be wagyu, but I can’t be sure. It’s all cooked super rare, almost raw in some cases, and there is a lot of garlic on everything. Most of the places covered are pretty classical in their approach – there’s not as much fusion as you’d expect, but soy sauce and wasabi pop up a couple of times. In conclusion, I do not know why this magazine exists, but I can say everything looks delicious. I can’t offer you any insight into Japanese steak culture, but I can offer you some poorly taken pictures.

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Coffee Experiments

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As part of my slow transformation into a fully fledged coffee jerk, I recently acquired a stove top espresso maker. Full disclosure – it was a Christmas present. I got one for two reasons. Firstly, as mentioned already I am slowly becoming a coffee jerk, and this will only help said transformation. Secondly, and more importantly, these things are very clever. They’re displayed at MoMA clever. Designed by an Italian inventor named Luigi De Ponti in 1933, they were manufactured and subsequently made famous by Alfonso Bialetti, aka the founder of Bialetti. You’ll recognise the nicely stereotyped drawing of a moustached Italian guy. Also known as a moka pot, the stove top coffee maker utilises steam pressure to force water up through the coffee and into the top part. Simple yet effective. There’s a whole Wikipedia page about it.

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I’ve used mine about 6 times so far and have pretty much got the process locked in. As with any stupid kitchen toy, it took a couple of goes to get it right. The first few times gave some very disappointing, and frankly disgusting results. After switching the coffee to a different type, it started improving. Lesson learned – don’t use coffee that smells disgusting. It will only taste disgusting. A couple more tries and it’s finally producing something drinkable. It’s not an actual espresso as there’s not enough pressure, but it’s definitely stronger than your standard cup of coffee. It’s probably the closet you can get to espresso at home without dropping serious cash on a proper coffee machine. Going back to my becoming a coffee knob, I am slowly coming around to the idea that coffee is in fact better than tea. Roughly 2/3rds of my tea consumption is done at work, and the tea bags they have there are so bad it actually amazes me every time I drink a cup. And yet everyday I’m there with everyone else, complaining about the lack of clean mugs and spoons, scrambling for that mid afternoon caffeine fix. Coffee possess far more possibilities than tea. There’s more gadgets to play with (see above for example), it has a more widely applicable flavour – like, why do you not get tea flavoured things? With tea all you get is a mug full of the residue of dirty leaves and gutter water. Tea tastes like depression. At least coffee is a tangible flavour. Maybe I need to branch out into fancy teas, like Teapigs. Or maybe I need to go full on coffee dick, and get an AeroPress and start taking it to work. But that’s for another blog. What I’m saying is send me free stuff companies.

Nigel Cabourn

It’s that time of year again, where trade show and look book pictures start to trickle out, sparking debate amongst the #menswear minions. First to come to light is the Nigel Cabourn AW13 collection. Following last year’s less appealing cricket stripe theme, Cabourn comes back strong with this collection. I’ve been a fan of the brand for a couple of years but have never been able to commit to anything. Granted, this is mostly because the jackets are the equivalent of at least two months rent but you can always find that shit on discount in small sizes. Media dads are the only people that can buy Cabourn at full price, and believe me, they’re not copping the 38′s. The other part of me is always wary that Nigel Cabourn is too close to looking like you’re playing dress up as a blog game Compo from Last Of The Summer Wine.

The coats and jackets are always the highlight and this year’s Cameraman is one of the best yet. The blue/black combo is a lot easier to wear than the yellows and oranges of previous iterations, and the detachable vest is an awesome touch. I would probably just buy the vest. Harris Tweed is going to be big, so this jacket is perfect for keeping warm and dry, and staying relevant to all your internet #menswear friends. That’s right, you’re so hip, even your jacket’s lining is on trend. Instant rep.

These photos have been taken from the Proper magazine website, without their permission. You can click here to see the full set of photos, and read more stuff about tweed. They’re based in the North, and those dudes take their technical fabrics seriously.

New Year, New Failure

New year, new start would be the title of this blog, if I actually believed that this year would be any different from the last one. January is a time for every dick with internet access to proclaim that its their year, when realistically all that they’ll amount to is a couple of blog posts and some Instagram shots of their dinner/shoes before giving up on it all. The internet is full of dead blogs, of well intended, or even poorly intended attempts at adding something worthwhile to the millions of words that are typed into WordPress, Blogger, Tumblr etc every single day. How is yours different, how will it stand out from the rest of the dirge? It won’t. For all the self promo on Twitter, it’s a struggle to get even ten views for a new post. At least it is for me, seeing as out of my five friends, only one of them knows how to use the internet. My point is that we all start out with good intentions but they soon fade. I’ve got some great ideas – I was going to start making bags and shirts, I was going to start my own pickle business. I was going to start a fanzine. I even came up with a name, but now it’s just a poorly maintained Tumblr. Maybe one day I’ll get my act together and actually do something. In the meantime, I’ll probably just sit on the Oi Polloi website, waiting for them to reduce their sale prices.

In order to make this post seem less self-indulgent and whiny, above is one of my favourite songs from last year. I thought about doing some sort of music top five, like my super successful food top 10 (6 views!), but I realised that the older I get, the more I hate new music. This song would probably have been on that list. RiFF RaFF is ridiculous is the best possible way, and without Action Bronson I would never have got the phrase “Rap Game David Chang” on the ASOS website. Aside from getting blocked by some foodie knobheads on Twitter, it was probably my greatest achievement last year. And if that’s not a job well done then I don’t know what is.

Blog Game Technology

Back in the blog game thanks to the wonders of modern technology. I am typing this into my phone, into an app called Evernote. I am not entirely sure if that’s what the app is intended for or even if this will work. I’m still struggling to type properly. The one thing I’ve managed to suss out is Instagram. It’s basically girls posting pictures of themselves in a state of undress and dudes posting fit pics. If someone figured out a way auto translate Japanese into English they’d get the #menswear Instagram game locked down. I can’t be the only one that has a feed full of Japanese dads and their expensive clothes. So once again I am going to claim that I’m back in the blog game, but this time technology is on my side. I can type useless words into WordPress pretty much anywhere. I can also Tumblr, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. I’m pretty much on all the social networks. You should follow me. I’ve even started browsing Etsy. Some seriously nice looking vintage mountain parkas on there. Love that 60/40 fabric. I put some examples on Tumblr. Yeah, I’m interconnected like that. Look out for me trying to live blog my work Christmas do. Very excited about that. To finish, here’s a picture of Guy Fieri and Drake.

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Hats Off

There are certain things that I believe would greatly improve my life. There are the obvious – more money, more space, not having to work to live, not going bald, being good friends with Kanye West. The kind of shit most people think about. Then there are the less obvious, more First World Problems – trying to decide on an iPhone contract, getting a haircut, eating my five a day. All of these aside though, there is one thing that I truly believe would greatly improve my life, one that would make me jump out of bed each morning, greeting the day with a smile and a bounce in my step. That, ladies and gentlemen, is a bucket hat.

For the uninformed, a bucket hat is simply that. A hat shaped like an inverted bucket. As with many other hats, they also go by other names. Sailor hat, fishermen’s hat, boonie hat. All the same basic thing. A hat shaped like a bucket. The one above is by a brand called Tantum, and is here. I’m not entirely sure of the origins of the bucket hat, but I would suspect it’s a naval thing. Is nautical shit still on trend? I guess you could add it to the early 90s thing that everyone (my workplace) is pushing. Golden-era conscious rap was all about bucket hat. In fact, bucket hats probably pop up in most periods of rap, but as a rap tourist at best, I’m not in the best position to investigate. Let’s just agree that they’re a good style of hat. I’d wear it in the summer and keep the heat off my head. Wear it in the winter and keep the rain off my head. Wear it at home for no reason other than I could. There is only one problem in the way of my bucket hat dream – I look like a dick in a hat. I also have a really big head. So I can’t wear the one thing that will improve my life. It’s a tough life.
In other hat news, I tried on this cap at the weekend. It almost looks good on me, and may well become a good replacement to the non-existent bucket hat. Just remember, cap not snapback. Don’t say snapback.
I also spotted two different people wearing the Comme des Fuckdown beanie hat. So that’s a that. On the subject of beanies, this winter I’ll be wearing mine high and baggy (that’s what she said) because I saw a Japanese guy doing it one time and it looked cool. In about a month you’ll probably notice all the kids wearing their beanies like this. It’s going to be a thing. Expect to read something about the return of streetwear or some shit.
More inconsequential complaining soon.