Not that I’m any kind of expert in the taste of mud, but something tells me there’s more  than a slight resemblance between it (mud) and the stuff some of the hipper cafés are passing off as coffee these days.

It’s as if coffee has gone the way of beards and denim where a kind of exaggerated version of itself based on trends rather than taste has taken over. 

This new style brew is the coffee equivalent of jeggins for men or supersize beards - it’s thicker, darker and lacks the depth of flavour previously considered the mark of great coffee.

It’s just my opinion of course, but if anything should be exempt from the vagaries of fashion it should be beards, denim and a good cup of coffee. 


Garmsville Talk To Art Comes First

We’re told never to meet our heroes because they’re bound to disappoint us. But what happens when two of our heroes meet up? Maybe their mutual hero status cancels each other’s out and they find themselves behaving like the rest of us mere mortals.

That would go a long way to explain why Miles Davis and John Lennon in this film appear to be grabbing cold beers, shooting a few hoops in the driveway and trying to act just like everyday people.

So ordinary is this scene that it would be totally unremarkable but for the fact that these men are two of the most influential artists of their day. Both are at the peak of superhero condition – Lennon has just finished recording his second and perhaps greatest solo album, Imagine while Davis, deep in his electric fusion phase, is riding high on the impact of his seminal album Bitches Brew - at the time the best selling jazz LP in history. 

Apparently it’s a clip from a rare piece of film by Jonas Mekas found on a beat up old VHS cassette a few years ago and only recently cleaned up to what we see now. 

There’s Yoko and Miles’ ex-wife Betty Davis looking on while the boys take shots at the net. Just off in the background are a bunch of other not-so-everyday-people including Jack Nicholson, being his sociable self, and Andy Warhol, taking Polaroids. And then there’s Allen Klein - the person according to Paul McCartney to blame for the Beatles breakup.  It’s all happening at Klein’s New York home, celebrating his wife’s birthday and the completion of the Imagine recordingsessions.

Look closely and you’ll see that neither one of our superheroes appear wholly comfortable with this idea of everyday normality. And who can blame them? Apparently this is John and Miles’ first ever encounter. Miles asks John if Yoko is Japanese. John replies, ‘No, she’s a New Yorker.’ Miles asks John why he didn’t marry ‘a nice white bride.’ John replies – ‘That’s what I thought she was! They all said I was blind!’

The word ‘awkward’ comes to mind.

Maybe that old saying about not meeting your heroes rings true even for your hero’s heroes.

An incredible Documentary About The Incredible Jimmy Smith

This is what happens when you stick a camera in front of a bunch of jazz musicians and pretend nobody’s listening.

People know Jimmy Smith as this cool jazz organist who released amazing records like  Walk On The Wild Side, The Cat and Back At The Chicken Shack on Blue Note and Verve and wore those pork pie hats and neat Italian knits that inspired a million mods. 

But this fly-on-the-wall documentary from the mid 1960’s goes beyond all that - a real insight not just into the life, music and wit of a legend, it’s also a pithy and frank reflection on the culture at that time.

Originally made for German TV, much of this I suspect has to do with that fact that those appearing in this documentary were secure in the belief that the film would never be seen in America. And so while we get to see some amazing life performances from Jimmy’s band and also hear Dizzy Gillespie, we also witness discussions on racism in both America and Europe and the various inequalities in jazz. 

While the music sounds as relevant and compelling as it must have done back then, the saddest fact is so too do those discussions.

Duffer Japan reaches UK shores

Marking its thirtieth anniversary this year, The Duffer of St George have plenty to celebrate.

One such reason is that the brand’s Japanese product is set for these shores. 

The spring summer collection was introduced a few months back and this preview of next season’s collection has just arrived on my desk.

It’s hard not to compare this modern incarnation with the Duffer’s glory days of past. But it’s a testament to Creative Director Marco Cairns’ taste level and design skill, that while this new collection is very much on trend, the heart and soul of the old Duffer remains perfectly intact. 

Probably one of the coolest people you’re ever likely to meet and a original Duffer partner too boot, Marco talks about the brand and some of the thinking behind this forthcoming collection.

‘It has taken a long time to build the business in Japan. We stated selling direct to  Japanese retailers back in the late 80’s. where they would literally come to our store in Soho and clear the shelves. This got us into wholesale…trade shows etc…..

The Japanese market loved the quirkiness of what we where doing..Our product was available in Ships..Beams..United Arrows etc when we where approached by Itochu to sign a License…We now have 22 stores across the region… They love the Englishness of Duffer and are very much into detail so we have to constantly supply them with information on  how why and when? This enables us to keep our customers loyal.

Retail is very tricky these days, you have to deliver a complete concept at the right price… But this doesn’t really worry me. There has been some talk of it….Let’s see..

Duffer has been around for 30 years this year and a lot has happened. There is defiantly a story to tell especially of the earlier years…I know there are people pushing for this… Of course this comes down to finance but it would be a great project to work on…

  I can be inspired at any time by anything, that’s what keeps me going I guess - there’s always something new out here to get into.The conception of a new idea comes from a gut instinct which I share with my team, they then can translate these into designs …  

  For Winter 14, one of the collection highlights for me is a down filled quilted Mountain Jacket with a sheepskin collar… It looks pretty simple but I love it.’

It’s been a fun but busy summer. Doing wardrobe for Jerry Dammers’ Spatial AKA Orchestra…filming the John Simons documentary…writing for Grafik Magazine…designing product for House Of Garmsville…and the rest…

I hosted a couple of radio shows on Know Wave UK - interviewing first Jazzie B from Soul2Soul and then Goldie about Metalheadz.

 I was lucky enough to be included in the exhibition of the year - Return Of The Rude Boy - as well as model for John Lewis and the amazingly talented young British designer Tom Lipop.

House of Garmsville’s Spring Summer ‘15 collection at Jacket Required was a real highlight too…

 Right now I’m looking forward to posting here again. Menswear is going through a really interesting phase – and I’m planning to write about (and wear) some of the pieces, places and people that interest me - and hopefully some that interest you’ll too.