Life, the Universe, and Dandyism
Sunday 24th January 2016.
I am on something of a Gore Vidal tip, after watching Best of Enemies for the third time. Am delighted to find there’s another documentary on Netflix, United States of Amnesia, entirely about Mr Vidal’s life. I don’t always agree with his relentless cynicism – he even finds something negative to say about the election of Obama. But his wit and style is a delight. Vidal’s utterations on chat shows contain epigrams worthy of Wilde:
TV interviewer (on Vidal’s running for a Democrat candidacy in 1982): Did you like that experience? All the hand shaking?
Gore Vidal: Oh yes. I love that. I like crowds. I have depths of insincerity as yet unplumbed.
* * *
Sitting in the Barbican Cinema Café this evening, I am recognised from the I Am Dandy book. This time it’s by one of the other dandies within its pages: the pristinely moustachioed Johnny Vercoutre, there to see The Revenant (‘It’s very Boys’ Own,’ I tell him).
Getting out the dandy book at home, I see he’s on page 238. I’m on page 42, looking rather otherworldly in my chalk white suit. There’s whiteness around me too: the picture was taken in a snow-covered Parkland Walk, here in Highgate. Being a Douglas Adams fan, I can’t help feeling pleased by my page number’s association with Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Here, 42 means the answer to life, the universe, and Highgate dandyism.
Which Hitchhiker’s character do I most resemble? I admit to having Marvin the Paranoid Android moments. I recently caught myself grumbling about my inability to turn a high IQ (well, 141) into a decent income, before realising that this was all too close to Marvin’s catchphrase: ‘Here I am, brain the size of a planet…’ Mustn’t be a Marvin. He moans about his health too: ‘And me with this terrible pain in all the diodes down my left side.’
Of course, Marvin’s saving grace is that his depression manifests as a form of amiability, much like Eeyore’s does in Winnie the Pooh. Huggable depressives. In the film version of Hitchhiker’s, Marvin’s voice was perfectly cast in the form of Alan Rickman, who died the other day. He was an actor I was lucky enough to see on stage in the 80s, at the Barbican in fact. Back then he played another great huggable depressive – Jacques in As You Like It. I don’t know if a recording exists of Mr Rickman doing the ‘All the world’s a stage’ speech, but given his voice was so memorable, it’s easy to imagine it.
There’s a further Rickman connection here: one of his best films, Truly Madly Deeply, is set in Highgate. In one scene Juliet Stevenson walks out of Highgate Tube station, very close to where the I Am Dandy photo was taken.
* * *
Monday 25th January 2016.
Am finally exhausted with reading commentary pieces on David Bowie. The more original and personal pieces aside, the bandwagon is rather showing its wheels, often adding little more than affirming Bowie’s obvious worth. In some cases, the facts are not even checked (the BBC website seems to think Bowie acted in the film Cat People, instead of providing the theme song). What I’m not exhausted with is the man himself: the actual music and concert footage. I rewatch the superb BBC documentary, Five Years. Rick Wakeman is amusing about his piano part on Life on Mars, which he recreates on a keyboard for the cameras. He demonstrates the cleverness of the key changes, while admitting having not played it for decades. ‘It’s a joy to perform.’ He pauses. ‘I must go home and learn it properly.’
Shanthi S points out to me how Bowie in drag (as seen in the ‘Boys Keep Swinging’ vid) rather resembles Billie Whitelaw, she of Samuel Beckett fame. Indeed, it’s a shame Bowie never acted in a Beckett play himself: he’d have been perfect.
* * *
Thursday 28th January 2016.
MA class tonight: Barbara Kingsolver’s Flight Behaviour. An environmentally-themed novel, with lots of detail about working class farm life in the Appalachians. Some Hardy-esque elements: strong female characters with Biblical names, dreaming of affairs amid the sheep-shearing. Less Hardy-like are the references to the internet and Google, though the protagonist is too poor to have her own computer, despite being a twenty-something American in 2010. There’s a wry scene in which an environmental campaigner suggests the heroine cuts down on her carbon footprint by taking fewer flights. She and her husband have yet to travel outside of the state. It’s a neat illustration of media solipsism – the way one forgets how plenty of people in the US (and indeed the UK) still have none of the technological convenience enjoyed by the majority.
I look up the latest figures for adults without internet access. It’s 11% in the UK (6 million people), 15% in the US (47 million). It’s one reason why public libraries are still essential, with their free internet terminals.
Sometimes, though, such utterly offline lives might be enviable. I watch a programme tonight on internet abuse, ‘Troll Hunters’. Various recipients of malicious Twitter messages are shown tracking down their antagonists, then confronting them in person. What’s unexpected is the way one 40-something working-class man – his face blurred – is utterly unrepentant about his behaviour. He even claims a kind of moral defence. The people he attacks, he says, like the former MP Louise Mensch, are far more powerful than he is, so they need taking down a peg or two. ‘It’s all about destroying authority… The world owes me. If they block me, I move onto someone else.’
Certainly the programme touches on one unassailable truth about the appeal of trolling. It’s about wanting to feel powerful.
* * *
Friday 29th January 2016.
Another phone call from someone claiming to be from ‘the technical department of Windows’. They want to provide remote access to my computer so they can deal with ‘hacking’. Apart from anything else, the people behind these obvious scams don’t seem to realise that Windows is a product, not a company. This one hangs up at the slightest challenge.
Tags: alan rickman
, barbara kingsolver
, gore vidal
, i am dandy
, more bowie
The Devil Wears Car Robes
Saturday 19th September 2015.
I learn that I am affected by the Department for Work and Pensions’s ‘new rules’, and may have to get by on less than I’d thought. Much of this week is spent on the phone to their blameless staffers, resisting the urge to make comments about the whereabouts of Mr Duncan Smith’s heart. I suspect they get that a lot. They sigh down the line and use phrases such as ‘our hands are tied’. They also tell me to try the Citizens’ Advice Bureau.
This is a clever ploy, because many of the CABs are themselves on the receiving end of ‘new rules’, in the shape of government cuts. There are now fewer of them per borough, and the ones that are still going are rarely open for more than a handful of hours a week. The upshot is that I traipse over to Tottenham twice this week. There, I sit in a prefabricated bungalow located in an alleyway near Bruce Grove station, in a colourless waiting room not unlike the ones in documentaries about prisons. I have to go twice, because the first time all the appointment slots are filled up before me. The second time I go, I still have to wait two and half hours in the waiting room before finally seeing an advisor. Her advice, such as it is, is that I need to take my money woes to a more specialist office in Crouch End. And so it goes on.
I take a train from Bruce Grove into Liverpool Street, and walk around the gleaming skyscrapers of the financial district. The contrast between these looming citadels of wealth and the rundown, deprived streets of Tottenham, mere minutes away, has never been more shocking. Anyone doubting the appeal of Mr Corbyn needs to make this journey.
* * *
Sunday 20th September 2015.
Jackie Collins dies. In the papers there are a number of ‘guilty pleasure’ tributes for her novels, along with lots of photographs taken during her modelling career. Like Joan Crawford, and indeed like her own sister Joan, she managed to project a level of camp at every stage. A picture from 1956 shows a 19-year-old Jackie at an Earl’s Court motor show, posing with ‘The Goggomobil T300 – the smallest family four-seater car on the market’. She smiles at the camera while stepping out of this stunted vehicle, showing off a zebra print two-piece which matches the car’s own upholstery. A caption confirms that her clothes are indeed designed by ‘Car Robes, makers of car seat covers’. Low Camp she may have been at the time, she went on to turn this ability into a knowing and deliberate form of High Camp, and to lucrative effect too. It is what Quentin Crisp calls getting the joke on your own terms.
* * *
Monday 21st September 2015.
I am on a bus in Crouch End when a man in a corduroy suit gets on and engages me in conversation. It turns out that he knows me from the book I Am Dandy. We have a conversation about the various definitions of dandyism, and how dandyism relates to the breaking of one set of rules while adhering to another. Then he asks me for employment advice, given he sees himself as a dandy too.
I quote Crisp on the subject – try life modelling in art schools, because it fulfils a societal role while having the mild air of scandal. The other suggestion is anything involving the use of one’s own unique persona. This can include teaching, performing, lecturing, writing, or even tour guide work. As I’ve found from my own experience, a tour guide can often be dandy-like in spirit. They can tailor the facts of a gallery or museum to fit their own bespoke personality. And of course, tour guides have to perform a form of outsider’s view, because tourists and outsiders share a common border.
I was reminded of the time I was recognised in the street for being in the band Orlando. This was long after I’d left the band and was back on the dole. The person who recognised me said that he too was in a band, and did I have any advice on how to make it in the music business?
* * *
Wednesday 23rd September 2015.
The Daily Mail runs excerpts from a unkind book on David Cameron, written by Lord Ashcroft, his former friend. Chief among the revelations – or rather, allegations – are those involving debauched conduct at Oxford University during the 80s, especially an act involving an ‘intimate part of the future Prime Minister’s anatomy’ with a dead pig’s head. What interests me is the mention of Brideshead Revisited. At the time, the TV series had apparently made such an impression on Mr Cameron’s college friends that they all wanted ‘to play at being Sebastian Flyte’ and ‘live the Brideshead lifestyle’, according to the new book. The pig incident was part of this aspiration. As tributes to Evelyn Waugh go, the very public circulation of this one takes some beating, regardless of its veracity. I think Waugh himself, who so bemoaned the defeat of the Conservatives in 1945, would have been very pleased, even proud.
* * *
Thursday 24th September 2015.
Snark: a word that combines ‘snide’ and ‘remark’, often used as a default emotion on social media. But when viewed properly, snark is just a less honest kind of loneliness.
This occurs to me when I glance at the online response to the Morrissey novel, List of the Lost, which is published today. The trouble is, it’s impossible to judge the novel for its own worth, because of who the author is. The only reviews I’d really want to read are ones from a parallel world, where it was published pseudonymously.
I will read it and judge for myself as soon as I can. But then, I’m already on its side, just because so many critics rushed to savage it. From the extracts, it sounds a little like Ronald Firbank.
* * *
Facebook can sometimes feel like a memorial of gently-faded friendships. Today the site briefly crashes. I imagine it being hacked by someone who couldn’t take any more photos of weddings they had not been invited to.
* * *
Friday 25th September 2015.
To the Invisible Dot in King’s Cross, for a comedy show by Mae Martin, ‘Us’. The venue is east of Caledonian Road, in an area of King’s Cross that the big clean-up hasn’t quite reached. The Invisible Dot is small, brick-built, and single-level, with rows of skylights; probably a former workshop or garage. The stage is flanked by two toilets, which turns out to be something of a design flaw. Anyone getting up to use the toilet immediately pulls the focus of the show, and this happens towards the end of Ms Martin’s hour-long set. I wonder if her friendly persona allows it to happen, more so than it would for other performers. Her comedy style is a kind of sweet and knowing nervousness (belied by her years of experience). She also channels her physical androgyny into a form of female boyish charm, much like Tig Notaro. This cunningly means that it is impossible to heckle her when she’s on, as she never takes a ‘high status’ position – quite unusual for a comedian. Much of ‘Us’ is serious and heartfelt: themes of sexual identity, the pitfalls of bisexual dating, and the conflict of wanting to eschew labels while still attracting homophobic catcalls in public. I like Ms M a lot. So much so, that I wonder if I could ever do stand-up comedy myself. I already have the ill-advised suits. (This is not entirely a joke, though…)
* * *
I have my hair cut short into its natural brown, ready to be freshly re-bleached. It makes me realise how large my head is. I look like a camp Easter Island statue.
* * *
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Tags: brideshead revisited
, david cameron
, evelyn waugh
, i am dandy
, jackie collins
, mae martin
An Attempt To Go Weekly
I have finally conceded that daily diary updates are beyond me. So starting with this entry I’m going to compile a weekly thousand-word diary instead. I hope to publish a new one every Friday morning, as that makes it feel like something to look forward to. Sunday night will have to suffice for this one.
* * *
Monday 9th December 2013. The final set texts of the term are Olive Schreiner’s Story of An African Farm, Rana Dasgupta’s Tokyo Cancelled, and the Anglo-Saxon poem The Battle of Maldon. Schreiner’s novel is a perfect example of a book I’d never pick up were it not for taking a course in literature. When I do, it moves me to tears.
* * *
Rachel Stevenson has been reviewing all the songs in John Peel’s 1991 Festive Fifty. This was the Year of Noisy Americans. I remember being in student haunts of Bristol at that time and seeing the ‘baggy’ fashions of long sleeved tops and flares give way to checked lumberjack shirts:
In the evening I walk past the Kentish Town Forum. Despite the changing ways of consuming music, the sight of touts outside large venues still endures. It’s the same aggressive shouting at pedestrians. Only the band names being shouted come and go. Tonight it’s ‘Buy or sell tickets for Haim.’
* * *
Good to see critics agreeing with one of my favourite films of 2013: Frances Ha. In one scene, two characters discuss how to spend the evening:
‘We should go to the movies.’
‘But the movies are so expensive!’
‘Yeah, but you’re at the movies.’
* * *
Thursday 12th December 2013. On the day of my last classes for the term I receive my highest essay mark yet. It’s an 80. This is defined in the classification guidelines as a High First Class, for work that ‘may display characteristics more usually found at postgraduate level or that demonstrate the potential for publication.’ I’m rather stunned. I’m still uncertain about which direction to take this skill in order to earn a living, but at least it is proof that I can do this sort of thing well, and can do it on time, and should probably develop it further between now and the grave. The essay was on ‘technotext’ theories of materiality, with reference to Chris Ware’s comic strip story for the iPad, Touch Sensitive.
The same day sees a grading of my former work as a songwriter. The quarterly PRS statement arrives and pays me a total of £1.41. Orlando’s album Passive Soul has sold 7 copies on iTunes, while the Fosca song ‘Confused and Proud’ has been played 139 times on streaming services like Spotify and Last FM. Well, I’m pleased if the songs are being listened to at all.
* * *
Meanwhile my work as a diarist in the anthology A London Year has managed to receive some attention. Here’s a positive review, which quotes from my diary:
This further review calls me ‘as well-read as Samuel Johnson and Johnny Rotten but polished to a dandyish sheen’. I also have ‘a certain essential Londonness’:
A few weeks ago, Kensington & Chelsea Today reviewed the book and called me ‘Dickson’ Edwards, which suggests I have some distance to go in the notability stakes. Still, it also called me ‘the youngest’ diarist in the book, which is the best possible thing you can say to anyone over, oh, 24. Here’s a pdf of the review:
The other 2013 book I’m in, I Am Dandy, appeared as a prop in a colour supplement article (name forgotten, possibly the Sunday Times). It was, of all things, a piece on the comedian Frank Skinner. Mr Skinner was photographed reading I Am Dandy in his underwear.
* * *
I am sent a photograph of a sign on a building. They saw it and thought of me. It says ‘Centre For Useless Splendour’.
A little Googling reveals this to be part of the Contemporary Art Research Centre at Kingston University. The artist responsible is Elizabeth Price, the Turner Prize winner who once sang in a couple of my favourite bands, Talulah Gosh and The Carousel.
* * *
Saturday 14th December 2013. Mum comes up to London for a well-earned day trip, while the hospice looks after Dad. We have mulled wine and mince pies in the Somerset House Ice Rink café, something of a pre-Christmas tradition.
Another Christmas tradition that seems to be bigger every year: adults in Santa costumes wandering noisily en masse through the streets, swigging bottles of alcohol. An expected late night activity, perhaps, but today they’re on the Strand at noon. These are often organised group events (an inflated version of pub crawls), though not quite organised enough for some of us. What irks is the implication that it’s fine to extend an office party across a whole series of public spaces.
Mum and I have lunch at St Martin’s Café in the Crypt, and on the way out I point out a couple of sights in Trafalgar Square which mark this moment: Katharina Fritsch’s blue sculpture of a cockerel on the Fourth Plinth, and the pool of floral tributes to Mandela outside South Africa House. The queue to sign the embassy’s condolence book is now small enough to fit into the lobby, but it’s still going.
We visit the Tate Britain’s newly revamped permanent collection. Mum is pleased to see the inclusion of works by Josef Herman, Edward Middleditch and Nigel Henderson, all of whom she and Dad knew in the 60s and 70s. Henderson taught Dad photography. Josef Herman, meanwhile, lent my parents a car around the time I was born. ‘A beaten up Mini’ says Mum. ‘Full of sweet wrappers.’
* * *
Saturday evening: I watch the whole series of Adam Buxton’s Bug, his TV show about music videos. By far my favourite is one he shows from 2010. It’s for the song ’70 Million’ by the French indiepop band Hold Your Horses. They dress up as recreations of paintings: Vermeer’s Girl With A Pearl Earring, Géricault’s Raft of the Medusa, Delacroix’s Liberty Leading the People, and so on. I love how this concept is channelled through the ragged charm of the song and the band’s visible enjoyment, playing irreverently with the paintings’ gender roles and depictions of nudity:
Video: 70 Million by Hold Your Horses
The Bug website interviews the ’70 Million’ directors, and lists all the paintings:
Tags: 70 million
, a london year
, chris ware
, frances ha
, i am dandy
, Rachel Stevenson
, somerset house
, tate britain
Dandies In An Underworld
Friday 11th October 2013. A rainy afternoon spent in Piccadilly with Ray Frensham, fellow subject of the book I Am Dandy and author of Teach Yourself Screenwriting. He takes me for lunch at Brasserie Zedel in Sherwood Street. Once the Atlantic Bar, it’s now a rather splendid and ornate place to meet friends for a meal. Like the Wolseley, it’s actually possible to eat there relatively cheaply if one chooses carefully. You forget it’s in a basement somewhere under Regent Street – the ceiling is so high and the decor so gilded that it manages to feel downright airy.
Mr Frensham is full of entertaining anecdotes, and talks about how his romantic life became more fun after he hit 50 rather than before. The key ingredient being the sense of finally being at home in one’s skin. I certainly find that reassuring. We mooch around Hatchard’s bookshop afterwards, and take photos of each other with the dandy book. Hatchard’s has quite a few copies, filed under Fashion. I’ve since re-bleached my hair so it’s now a little less yellow. Not keen on resembling a sexually confused Eminem.
There’s also a new blog post about the book at the website for Bergdorf Goodman, the New York department store. I am featured as an example of The Dandy As Decadent, with an ‘under-worldly style’.
Mr Frensham tells me that his appearance in the book has already led to offers for modelling suits and so forth. I haven’t heard anything myself – yet. It would obviously be nice if something came of appearing in either that or in the big new diary book (A London Year).
But then, it’s just nice to be included for something I’m happy to be included for. As I think it says on the gates of the Underworld.
Tags: a london year
, brasserie zedel
, i am dandy
, ray frensham
Among The Dandies
Tuesday 17th September. To the tailors Gieves & Hawkes in Savile Row for a book launch. The book is I Am Dandy: The Return of the Elegant Gentleman, or as certain friends of mine would describe it, The Big Book Of Hot Men.
It’s a large and lavish hardback comprising profiles of about sixty gentlemen who dress in an individual and elegant way. The book combines full colour photographs by Rose Callahan with text by Nathaniel ‘Natty’ Adams, based on his interviews with the dandies. It is the sort of volume that was once called a coffee table book. I suppose now it is better described as a latte plinth offline HD tablet.
Given the event is about dandyism, I decide to don Sebastian Horsley’s old suit once again, the silver velvet John Pearse 3-piece, now altered to fit me a bit better. Keen to represent my own style as much as the late Mr Horsley’s, I leave out his wing-collared Turnbull & Asser shirt in favour of one of my own cheap small-collared supermarket shirts, and add my simple white pocket square handkerchief, seahorse brooch and cufflinks, along with my battered Gucci loafers. Belatedly I forgot I own a Cad & The Dandy tailored shirt of my own – never mind.
Some years ago a similar photography book on modern dandies came out. It included the Dexys singer Kevin Rowland and Sebastian Horsley. I remember (shamefully) whining to Mr Horsley that I wasn’t included. ‘Oh, you’ll be in the next one,’ he said. He was quite right. So that’s another reason to wear his suit to the launch. A Double Dandy representation.
It’s a rainy evening. A doorman tips his top hat to me as I enter. The shop is an unexpectedly large and high-ceilinged space, with a balcony floor that functions as a museum of Gieves & Hawkes’s history. Glass cases display military tunics, centuries old. Among the many suits on rails and manniquins, hat boxes, chests of drawers and cutting tables there is a jazz band playing, while at the other end of the shop a stage has been set up to make announcements. It has a screen as a backdrop which projects a selection of photos from the book. Waiters offer free champagne, then hover around and refill your glass when it runs low. After the champagne runs out, I move onto lychee martinis. One of the great things about book events is that they’re over by 8pm, so one can get drunk and be in bed by ten, to make an early start on recovering. Book launches lend themselves to efficient hangover management.
[pic by Suzi Livingstone]
I say hello to people I know: Suzi L, Minna M, Rose and Natty, and chat with some of the other dandies in the book who are at the event: Robin Dutt, Ray Frensham, Tony Sylvester (the gentleman from the Quietus article), Barima Nyantekyi, Michael ‘Atters’ Attree, Gustav Temple. There’s also the teenage dandy Zack MacLeod Pinsent. It will be interesting to see if young Mr P keeps up his look into his twenties and thirties; many people his age are still working out who they are.
[pic by Kira of Scarlet Fever Footwear.]
The photographer Kahlil Musa has a portrait studio set up in the changing room area. Here’s the shots he took of me on the night.
[Pics by Kahlil Musa, taken from the Gieves & Hawkes Facebook and Pinterest pages]
Given that dandies are like cats: essentially aloof, wary and self-contained (at least, that’s one way I define dandyism), it’s quite a coup to gather so many of them in the same room, let alone get them to agree to be in the same book. There are also inevitably going to be opinions over who should have been in the book but wasn’t, and who was included but isn’t a ‘proper’ dandy. But at this event no fights break out, and everyone seems friendly and fun. Mr Atters is particularly entertaining; I’m impressed by his choice of lapel brooch: a small stuffed bat.
[pic by Kelly René Miller from the Stylesight blog]
Along with the other dandies present, I sign a couple of copies of the book for Rose & Natty, for their own collection. Specifically, I sign the photo of me in a chalk white suit – the whiteness lending itself to the purpose.
It’s a shame the American dandies in the book couldn’t be there, as it’d be nice to see the ones I’m acquainted with such as Fyodor Pavlov (whose wedding I attended) and Cator Sparks (who showed me round New York). I’d also like to meet Lord Breaulove Swells Whimsy and, most of all, Gay Talese. At 81 years of age, Mr Talese has maintained an almost OCD approach to dandyism: one of Ms Callahan’s most striking photos shows his wall of hats, all carefully wrapped in clear dust covers and labelled underneath like hunting trophies. Which in a way is what they are. He’s also the only dandy in the book to have his own words published as a Penguin Modern Classic.
I keep meeting British book lovers who haven’t heard of Gay Talese (pronounced ‘Ta-leez’), or his classic magazine article ‘Frank Sinatra Has A Cold’. I suspect this is because, unlike his New Journalism colleagues Tom Wolfe, Hunter S Thompson, and Truman Capote, he never wrote actual fiction, not even heavily autobiographical fiction.
The New Journalism gang believed – though perhaps not officially – that writers should put an effort into styling their appearance as well as their prose. Gay Talese is definitely a dandy. Wolfe has his white suits; Capote and Thompson each maintained a strong look. Whenever I’m in a bookshop and have to choose between two equally attractive books (in terms of content), I have to find a reason to choose one over another. So I look at the author photo and judge them by the choice of clothes they make. Double denim novelists, be warned.
Links with more photos & info on the I Am Dandy event:
Book ordering details from the publisher, Gestalten
Gieves & Hawkes blog
Rose Callahan’s Dandy Portraits blog
Gay Talese’s 1966 article ‘Frank Sinatra Has A Cold’ can be read for free at the Esquire website. But the more stylish option is to buy the Penguin Modern Classics edition. And be seen reading it in public.
* * *
Friday 20th September. Rushing to cross the road, I manage to pull a muscle in my back, and walking for the next two days becomes painful. I seem to be prone to such injuries, having consigned myself to a weekend of limping a month or so ago after doing something similar to my ankle.
In my case, the degree of overexertion is risible; it is not caused by any manly overdoing it on the rugby field or in the gym, but just by a sudden everyday movement after a period of staying still. The ankle pain was the result of waking up one morning, realising I was late for a train, then putting my foot out onto the floor too quickly. That was enough. An anxious and tense thing by nature, I am not built for making sudden movements full stop, even for flight rather than fight. I would make the world’s worst spider.
Saturday 21st September. To the Adam Street club off The Strand, to DJ for the Last Tuesday Society once again. Before I start there is a talk on the I Am Dandy book by Rose Callahan and Natty Adams. I ask them if they found some crucial difference between American and European dandies.
‘Firstly,’ says Mr Adams, ‘it’s only ever Europeans who ask that question about Americans being different. If there is a difference it’s that American dandies tend to look to the 1920s Jazz Age styles, while Europeans favour the Victorian age.’ He cites the top hat as something that Americans particularly tend to avoid.
Evidence of a post-Fifty Shades of Grey era. Although the club night is not a fetish one, in a corner of the room in which I am DJ-ing is an apparatus for being strapped to and whipped, and tonight there is a black-clad gentlemen hired to do just that. I think at first that the people being whipped are also hired by the promoters, in the spirit of providing an interesting ambience. But it transpires they are partygoers: it’s an option included in their ticket. Every song I play while the whipping and spanking goes on takes on immediate innuendo, though accidentally. ‘I Want To Be Happy’, ‘Get Happy’, ‘In The Mood’ and especially: ‘Blue Moon’.
Tags: book launches
, gay talese
, gieves & hawkes
, i am dandy
, natty adams
, rose callahan
, Sebastian Horsley