Monday, 13 June 2011

Think Of It As Goodbye Rather Than Farewell

"I have so much to tell you if ever I get the time," I said a few posts ago. Well, I don't know if I'll ever get time. I've already had a few mails asking where I am, which is lovely, but I'm afraid that I need to fill the foreseeable future with other work. Paid work. If you're hugely interested in this blog, I suppose you might want to check once a month or something for the off-chance of activity.

Perhaps somebody else should do a Steve McQueen style blog, perhaps a slightly more normal blogger than me. I mean by that somebody who'd shun the search label "Michael Jackson's Dead Body". It'd be good to see something other than the cynical effort I found through Google recently, though.

I thought little of and about style in terms of clothes before this site. I began it as a way to focus such thoughts. The world of clothes still seems ridiculous as ever. Stylish pockets exist, though, filled with worthwhile content. Clothes are fundamental, after all. They're thoughtful or unthinking as you make them.

I have an incredible idea for a documentary film on that fundamental clothes fibre, cotton, actually. Cotton has long been at the centre of things. It's long been fuel for cruelties. It was fuel for the industrial revolution, of course, for British Empire. It was fuel for the economic growth of the United States of America through slavery and slavery's half-hearted disguise, sharecropping. The unaffected tend to find it easy to accept the cruelties that go hand in hand with development. My documentary will be more about the future than the past, though, when the development is collapse.

Cotton is an excellent example of global patterns. I even have a title for the documentary. Cotton: The Apocalyptic Crop. Nice rhyme. My documentary will show how cotton prices have recently risen because of greed (speculative buying), climate change (floods) and the relentless development of, er, developing markets (China). It'll then look at how, when the speculative bubble bursts, we'll be left with the natural rise caused by unnatural weather and upwards of seven billion people.

My documentary will have an interview with the founder of the clothes label A.P.C., Jean Touitou. Google his name, cotton and China. He's the idiotic alternative to idiotic fashion. He was a Trotskyite, you know, etc. He blames China for the rise of cotton prices.* Speculators stockpile cotton to push up prices, and yes they hide much of it in China. Banks like Barclays buy it in collaboration with Chinese speculators, though.

The bubble that led to the Great Depression at least led in turn to laws that controlled speculative buying. Banks like Barclays got government collaborators to dump these laws, though. This has led to an economy in recession, unable to take yet another big bubble. We've only pushed governments to make noises about the reintroduction of laws to protect us. The unnatural price of cotton shows us how free these crooks are to manipulate the market.

Icons Of Men's Style

Wow. Where was I? OK, style in terms of clothes. My interest is still here. It's with Steve McQueen, and with broader classic and antique styles. A new book that catalogues menswear classics is Icons Of Men's Style by Josh Sims. It's the best book of its kind I've seen. It of course includes our man. I've stuck it in the Amazon Steve McQueen Style shops. (See the top right of this blog. Note also the current reasonable UK price of the William Claxton 25th anniversary special edition book.)

Quantum Of Solace

OK, a loose end or two. Small point, but I meant to draw attention some time ago to a comment left on Steve Wears The Trousers. I said in the post that Daniel Craig wore Levi's 306 Sta-Prest for Quantum Of Solace. This is true. He wore similar in the film as well, though. The commenter points out that the trousers in the image I used are the similar.

Converse Chuck Taylor All Star Monochrome Canvas Ox M

The closest equivalents I've seen to the gym shoes that appear in the Dominis shots are by Converse. I believe Patrick Segui (Riveted) said they were Converse ages ago, now I think about it. The online shoe shop Sarenza sells the best white Converse shoes in the UK (£55). You can get white elsewhere in the UK, but they'll probably differ (note the unpainted lace holes of the pair that Sarenza sells). I know that I once described Converse as "strips of torture to me", but these are tickety-boo.

Japan, as usual, sells the best, most accurate reproduction Converse. This goes for Sperry Top-Sider too, incidentally, at least if your feet are size nine (UK) or smaller. This rules out my clown props.

I do love Japanese reproductions (Joe McCoy and The Real McCoy's, Buzz Rickson and Sugar Cane). They look initially like perfectly preserved museum pieces, though. They need plenty of natural wear before they look their best. This is where a small collection of clothes helps and this, a uniform of a few choice items, is what I advocate (I admit my collector's instinct can make me imperfect in this area).

Now is as good an opportunity as any to slide into a bit of disgruntled consumer advice. The first tip is to regard Eastman Leather, the European home of Buzz Rickson, with a healthy suspicion. I ordered a sweater, the last size they had, but it was too small. The price had included delivery, but Eastman Leather refunded me minus postage. Eastmen Leather reckoned the cost of the short, light domestic journey at £12. God knows the charge for, say, a heavy leather jacket.

My other advice is to treat your fellow eBayers with the utmost respect. Certainly do what you can to ensure people deal honestly with you, but break eBay's rules if there's a benefit. That business obviously gets more than its bit. Its services are abysmal. Use alternatives, do everything you can to screw it.

OK that's it, as I say, for the foreseeable future. Get in touch if you'd like to hire my copywriting, copy-editing or proofreading talents (do you work for eBay, A.P.C. or Barclays?), if you'd like to turn this blog into a "cult classic" book or, especially, if you'd like to produce Cotton: The Apocalyptic Crop.

*Jean Touitou's protests against apparently legitimate targets consistently reveal his spoilt outlook. He says in the same interview that "the very famous Chanel bag 2.55 - which I really love, my grandmother had one and my mother had one - is all over the place. I can't look at them anymore." Here's one possible response to that predicament: "Chanel should be the preserve of families of wealth and taste like that of Jean Touitou." Here's another possible response to that predicament: "Fuck Jean Touitou's mother and his grandmother. If it affronts his empty sense of superiority, I'd rather see those ugly handbags everywhere."


  1. Well, Christ, I just found your blog and was hoping to check it regularly. You tipped me on the boots as well as the chino cut. Incidentally, I found the Gap slim chinos are of approximately the same width as Mcqueen's Great Escape trousers.

  2. Sorry! Glad it was of some use, though. I'll mention the Gap chinos if ever I get round to this blog again and they still have that style.